Taro Leaves Cooked in Coconut Milk (Laing)

Author: Victor Templonuevo
500 grams of dried taro/gabi leaves
1 onion peeled and chopped
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
3 thumb size ginger, peeled and sliced thinly
500 grams pork belly, diced
1 tablespoon of shrimp paste (optional, can be replaced with left over shredded fried fish)
salt and pepper to taste
2-3 pieces of Red lady finger peppers washed.
7-10 pcs of Chili Pepper (Labuyo - amount depending on how spicy you want the dish), chopped.
1.5 kg grated coconut meat.

You can also use the coconut milk in a pack from the grocery, but the drawback of it is that it will not produce an oily finish product which is the traditional way of finishing this dish.

To extract the coconut milk from the grated coconut, in a deep bowl, put the grated coconut meat, put 1 cup of warm water and squeeze with both hands for a few minutes (2-3 mins) then, take out the coconut meat after squeezing it leaving the milk in your bowl. Put the squeezed coconut meat in a separate plate. Do this until there is very less coconut meat left in the bowl, with all the extracted milk on it. Use a strainer to drain the rest of the coconut meat from the milk. Put this extracted coconut milk in a separate bowl (make sure there is no coconut meat in it). This will be your coconut cream, this should be at least 1 cup.
Repeat the process but this time, put in 2 cups of warm water. Pour and strain the extracted milk for this cycle in a wok or wide deep pan where you will cook the dish.

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