28 Jul2009


Takway are gabi or taro root tendrils or shoots, which I first wrote about here. I suspect, like okra or alugbati, takway are a love or hate ’em kind of vegetable, with texture the primary reason for falling on one side of the fence or the other… I liked takway the first time I tasted them, and since my host on this recent trip managed to get a kilo or so into our luggage, I decided to try and replicate the simple yet extremely satisfying “adobong takway” that we tasted on several occasions in Bacolod and the surrounding towns. The prep work to clean and peel the takway and wash it several times is the hardest part of preparing this dish.


Once the takway is cleaned up, cut it into two to three inch pieces, and make sure you wash it well in several changes of water. In a pan big enough to accomodate the takway you plan to saute, heat up some vegetable oil. Then saute some garlic, onions and pieces of pork. I suspect some Negrenses use a bit of fish guinamos at this point but I can’t be certain. Then I added the takway and sauteed for a a minute or two over high heat. I added some water, kikkoman soy sauce and some cane vinegar. Adjust the liquid so that there is enough to steam the veggies but not drown them. Add about a tablespoon of dark brown sugar for about every 6-8 cups of cleaned takway, to mellow the sauce. Simmer covered for some 7-8 minutes until soft. Season with ground black pepper and salt if necessary. Cook until soft but not mushy. Do not undercook as taro can trigger some allergic reactions in some diners if undercooked. But it must be a little softer than “al dente”… Taste to figure out if you need to adjust seasoning. Serve immediately with lots of steamed rice. Delicious. A perfect simple and economical meal. Serious yum factor.



  1. ann says:

    I love takway! YUM!!! i missed it too. Hope takway is avilable in supermarket :(

    Jul 28, 2009 | 4:50 pm


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  3. sanojmd says:

    i’m familiar with the taste of this taro stem because my mom used to combine this on her laing version. and i seems to like it. a little bit slimy but a very welcome taste than just pure leaves of the taro.. nwei, what happens to the leaves MM? did u make laing out of it??

    Jul 28, 2009 | 5:29 pm

  4. Gener says:

    Seriously i liked it too but i found difficulty on cooking it!its so itchy on the mouth once eaten,,that whats refrain me on eating it? how to avoid that itch i dont know?

    Jul 28, 2009 | 6:04 pm

  5. debbie says:

    i love takway too. everytime one of our kasambahays return from their vacation in capiz, we are lucky to receive a bunch of these which they cook adobo style too. yummy!

    Jul 28, 2009 | 6:25 pm

  6. natie says:

    i love this, too, MM…i grew up on this dish and the one in previous post..

    Jul 28, 2009 | 6:29 pm

  7. Connie C says:

    For gabi ( as we Tagalogs call it) lovers, preparing it is such a production but it is so good especially laing as prepared by the Bicolanos. As a young girl being taught how to prepare it, I would help my mom peel off the skin from the stems. It must be an incomplete process when part of the “skin” remains that gives the itching in the mouth.

    The itch from the leaves makes a good deer deterrent. A friend grew it in the perimeter of her property. Deer came and feasted on the foliage then never came back. I hope it did not kill them.

    Jul 28, 2009 | 6:41 pm

  8. dishesandplaces says:

    sarap! i certainly agree when you say the prep is the hardest part. just getting rid of the itch is tough enough. i can’t count the number of itchy laings i’ve eaten.

    but if this is homemade and you can give it all the love you can, then this truly sounds like a great dish :)

    Jul 28, 2009 | 7:24 pm

  9. Rhea says:

    yep, you’re right MM. Guinamos is always added to this dish when we make this in Bacolod. Eat this right off the pan with a heaping of steamed rice… perfect!

    Jul 28, 2009 | 9:36 pm

  10. Homebuddy says:

    Thanks for that recipe MM, I will definitely cook this dish because I like “takway”.

    Jul 28, 2009 | 9:45 pm

  11. Homebuddy says:

    BTW, when you say “ginamos” is it fish or shrimp paste?

    Jul 28, 2009 | 9:47 pm

  12. natie says:

    it’s always cooked with shrimp paste in western visayas..and real paste, not the bottled ones

    Jul 28, 2009 | 10:43 pm

  13. Maria Clara says:

    I am very familiar with this dish. My landlady was from Bacolod and used to get them at Blumentritt and Divisosia Markets. Yes, it is laborious to prep the stalks and lots of caution is a must especially when heading to the bathroom. Ensure proper handwashing was initiated before heading to john otherwise the itch bugs travel with you and migrate through the wippies and the rest will be uncomfortable experience. Warm vinegar is the sure cure for mishandling the stalks.

    Natie thanks for your pitch in preparing this known Negrese and Ilongo dish. Belacan is the most comparable substitute for aged guinamos which can be easily obtained in the West in most Thai markets. They have Belacan in powder and compressed block forms.

    Jul 29, 2009 | 1:23 am

  14. JORP says:

    Good thing everybody here loves takway.
    Also takway to is a good addition to our “laswa” dish since it also adds making the dish more easy to “take in” lol.
    There was one takway cooking I tasted before and it was a cross between an adobo and laswa which was very good.
    Safe to say taht it was cooked adobo style but without or little guinamos and had sabaw.
    Good thing that groceries here in Iloilo sell ready to cook takway in styro packs

    Jul 29, 2009 | 2:34 am

  15. kurzhaar says:

    Interesting. I have only had taro leaf in the Hawaiian dish called “laulau”…I imagine this tastes similar? I liked the laulau well enough, but don’t recall any “itch” so I suppose the dish was properly cooked. What is the “itch” caused by?

    Jul 29, 2009 | 3:27 am

  16. Rhea says:

    Homebuddy.. I would say “guinamos” is shrimp paste. I don’t know how it’s called in other places but in Bacolod, it’s made up of “hipon” or very small shrimp pounded into paste form. Guinamos is best paired with green mango. Yum!

    Jul 29, 2009 | 4:30 am

  17. Marketman says:

    taro leaves, stems and tendrils ALL contain calcium oxalate, which is the source of the often mentioned “itch.” taro or gabi leaves, stems and tendrils, and I suppose the root as well should never be eaten raw. A good description of what can happen when you have a little brush with raw taro is well described by Jeffrey Steingarten in one of his books when an appetizer on business class on a transpacific flight from Tokyo to New York, was served over a cut raw taro leaf. Mr. Steingarten suddenly felt his throat constricting and had a fairly strong allergic or simply poisoned reaction to the dish. So basically, don’t eat it raw or undercooked. When washing it or peeling it, the calcium oxalate can and does get all over your hands, so if you are particularly sensitive to it, you will feel the itch. To prevent this, use plastic gloves or some books suggest your oil your hands before handling the gabi or taro. In some parts of the philippines, they semi-dry or dry the leaves before they cook them, presumably because the drying process also helps reduce the effects of the calcium oxalate, but the BEST way to avoid the itch is to cook the vegetable well, as is done in laing, a stew of the leaves in coconut milk.

    guinamos for Negrenses is shrimp paste, sold in blocks, I had a post on it here. Guinamos for Cebuanos and Bicolanos can refer to fermenting/fermented fish with salt, a saucier greyish condiment. In this case, I was referring to the Negrense guinamos, and yes, as mentioned by a commenter, it is quite similar to the Malay or Indonesian belacan, available in Asian stores in many large cities around the world. I figured I could taste a touch of it in the adobong takway in Bacolod, but I didn’t have any handy when I cooked the dish above yesterday.

    Jul 29, 2009 | 6:34 am

  18. moni says:

    In Leyte, we cook it with coconut milk, ginger, lemon grass, red hot chili, and a bit of alamang (belacan). It is delicious and I agree with you that peeling the stalks is a tedious task. Thanks for this recipe.

    Jul 29, 2009 | 7:06 am

  19. bernadette says:

    My mother is from Bicol but does not really cook so i had observed cooking laing (Bicol style) via relatives—they really dry the gabi plant upside-down for days and days. Then they cook the laing in a kalan. Gabi roots, stems and leaves immersed in secondary and tertiary gata squeeze until the liquid is really gone. For me it is really like making coconut oil—looong cooking. Then as the laing is about to cook, they pour over the kakang gata or first and purest coconut squeeze. Perfect, delicious and no itch.

    Jul 29, 2009 | 7:58 am

  20. Lee says:

    namit. one of my favorite pagkaon.

    Jul 29, 2009 | 10:34 am

  21. T19 says:

    ooh! we call it daludal in Ilocano and it is most often cooked with dried fish and bagoong balayan. Serious rice fest!

    Jul 29, 2009 | 12:30 pm

  22. Homebuddy says:

    MM and Rhea, thanks for the clarification. Will surely try that dish soon.

    Jul 29, 2009 | 11:44 pm

  23. atbnorge says:

    Takway, is that the Ilonggo term for “tampulong”? I know they are abundant this time of the year—there in the Philippines. Mother used to make tampulong salad without the itch. Oh, how they grow along with the wild mushrooms; wrapped and steamed in dahong saging; eaten with hot rice and pritong galunggong!!! Waaaah, homesick na naman ako!!!

    Jul 31, 2009 | 12:51 am

  24. CHAR says:

    wow i like TAKWAY!!!

    Aug 31, 2009 | 6:46 pm

  25. jerome says:

    Takway…so delicious to eat…so hard and laborous to prepare but the end justifies the means… and prepare to eat mounds and mounds of perfectly cooked rice…yummmmmm

    Sep 19, 2009 | 2:41 am

  26. joseph arnold l. uy says:

    I love it too but it’s so itchy

    Nov 7, 2010 | 4:22 pm

  27. joseph arnold l. uy says:

    any suggestions on how to cook laing and make it not itchy send to my e mail for the recipe tnx joseph_uy01@yahoo.com

    Nov 7, 2010 | 4:23 pm

  28. theresa vega says:

    Takway caused me itching/skin rashing right after I was done scrapping the skin. I was heading to the bathroom when my hands and arms were itching big time! Even washing will not help. What I did was to put some efficascent oil and it worked. To all those who will be preparing takway, please be careful!

    Feb 17, 2011 | 1:06 pm

  29. theresa vega says:

    correction: I mean skin rashes, not skin rashing. Sorry for the mistake.

    Feb 17, 2011 | 1:07 pm

  30. love says:

    I love this food.. And all taro dishes…. its so hard to clean but its really really yummy…

    to avoid itch in cleaning takway…
    DON’T WET IT… soaking them in water releases a chemical that can be found in this plants that causes itchy… And it will be more faster cause its not slimmy if dry…

    To avoid itch in cooking takway and any parts of taro:

    DON’T STIR….dont stir the takway or any taro until it is fully cook…. Stirring them makes taro dishes itchy…

    when i’m cooking this i usually boiled takway in different pan without stirring… When is it cook, i drain it..
    on another pan i saute garlic and onion. Then add the pork.. And bagoong… And cook takway… Add little amount of water, vinegar, soy sauce.. Season with pepper and salt.. Simmer until liquid reduces.. Serve with steam rice and fried fish… Sarap…

    Hope my tips helps u guys… Happy cooking… Mabuhay mga pinoy..

    Apr 26, 2011 | 8:58 pm


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