Bowl of Taro Leaves in Coconut Sauce
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Taro Leaves in Coconut Milk
Philippine - Bicol
  -   Liang
3 #  
2 hr  
This recipe originated in Bicol at the southeast corner of Luzon, where coconuts are grown and much coconut milk is used - and lots of hot chilis. It spread from there all over the Philippines. It can be made with pork, shrimp, beef or vegetarian.

2 14

Taro Leaves (1)
Pork Belly or (2)  
Ginger root
Thai Chili (3)
cans Coconut Milk  
Bagoong (4)
Prep   -   (40 min)
  1. Cut stems from TARO LEAVES and cut into small strips (see Cutting). If using dry, soak them for a while so you can chop them easily.
  2. Dice PORK BELLY about 3/4 inch on a side, including the skin.
  3. Slice GINGER thin crosswise, and cut the slices into narrow matchsticks. Peel GARLIC and crush. Mix.
  4. Quarter ONION lengthwise and slice thin crosswise. Slice CHILES fairly thin crosswise. Mix.
  5. IF using dried Taro Leaves, skim most of the Cream off the top of the cans of Coconut Milk. Reserve it and add near the end of cooking.
Run   -   (1-1/4 hrs)
  1. In a wok, heat Oil and fry Pork stirring until all raw color is gone.
  2. Stir in Ginger mix and fry stirring about 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in Onion mix and fry stirring until Onions and Pork start to color.
  4. Stir in Taro Leaves and 1/2 cup Water. tumble until they are fairly wilted.
  5. Stir in Coconut Milk and bring to a boil. Stir in Bagoong. Cover and simmer slowly for about 1 hr, stirring the Taro Leaves down under the Coconut Milk frequently. IF you have reserved the Coconut Cream, pour it in when the recipe has 15 minutes to go.
  6. Adjust liquid if needed. Serve with steamed Jasmine rice. Note: this recipe is even better rested overnight and reheated.
  1. Taro Leaves:   Weight is for fresh Taro Leaves with stems removed. Dried Taro Leaves are more often used due to availability. For dried, use 2-1/4 ounces, about 3-1/2 cups lightly packed. Dried leaves will have a much darker color and a somewhat different flavor. Note that throat irritation is not a problem in this recipe, with fresh or dried leaves. For details see our Taro Leaves / Stems page.
  2. Pork Belly or:   Pork Belly is the preferred meat addition, but regular pork could also be used. Beef is used occasionally and shrimp are fairly common. This recipe can be made vegetarian (except for the shrimp paste) by omitting the pork, but I think including some dice of Taro Roots would be good idea in a vegetarian version.
  3. Thai Chili:   4 of these makes for a moderately spicy dish but if you have doubts, use 3. Of course, even 4 is a bit scant for Bicol. For details see our Philippine Chilis page.
  4. Bagoong:   This should be Ginisang Bagoong (Bagoong Guisado), the brown fried version. For details see our Shrimp Sauce / Paste page.
  5. Cutting:   I take a bunch of leaves and cut each from the stem attach to the bottom so they lie flat. I stack them and make one cut down the center and one down each side so I have 4 strips. I then pile the strips and cut the crosswise about 3/4 inch.
  6. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
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