17 Mar2015


I have made laing (stewed taro leaves with coconut cream/oil) several times in the past few weeks. Not the healthiest of vegetable dishes, but utterly delicious nonetheless. My dad’s dad was from Bicol, my dad loved chili, but my mom wasn’t fond of spicy dishes, so we never had laing at home when I was growing up… I only learned to eat it as an adult. At any rate, I had heard on several occasions from several sources that the furled and extremely tender leaves of taro were the “creme de la creme” of ingredients for this wonderful dish. The problem was, I hadn’t noticed them for sale in Manila markets until last weekend…


I was so happy to find these bunches of taro leaves that I bought all 5 bundles from the vendor at the FTI market for say PHP30 per bundle. Back at home, I photographed my “ingredient find of the day” for this post.


The taro leaves were smaller, a lighter green, incredibly supple and still naturally curled (furled) up. While the vendor and a Bicolano relative (who I called to ask) explained that the unfurled leaves didn’t need to be dried, I put them out under the hot sun for 20 minutes anyway… Taro leaves have oxalic acid that can bother/mildly poison some folks, but heat exposure to the sun and cooking seems to eliminate the risk.


So did I manage to take full advantage of this spectacular ingredient by cooking up and serving a phenomenal bowl of laing? Or did I screw up the delicate leaves and kick myself with regret? You’ll have to wait for the next post to see… :)



  1. Gej says:

    Great pictures! The first one can be a really nice painting.

    Mar 17, 2015 | 7:34 am


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  3. EbbaBlue says:

    Yum, Laing with Tuyo or hibe.

    Mar 17, 2015 | 9:27 am

  4. Noel says:

    Bitin!!! hahaha… can’t wait for your next post to find out what happened. =)

    Mar 17, 2015 | 10:41 am

  5. kurzhaar says:

    You mean “furled”, not “unfurled”.

    Mar 17, 2015 | 12:17 pm

  6. Marketman says:

    kurzhaar, absolutely correct, furled and not unfurled, thanks for that.

    Mar 17, 2015 | 12:48 pm

  7. Khew says:

    Coconut, coconut cream and coconut oil are healthy.

    Mar 17, 2015 | 2:30 pm

  8. kristin says:

    my dad loves this dish and it is his favorite…we always had this at home..when he passed away my mom cannot prepare it without crying so we stopped having it (she is the only one who can prepare the dish without the ‘katol’ in the tongue when you eat it)…havent had this since….and thats 19 years ago…i will maybe ask her if she can prepare it for me when i will be back home.

    Mar 17, 2015 | 9:00 pm

  9. Titanons says:

    Do not cut/ shred them into small pieces. Lay 3 leaves on top of each other. Put some of your sahog (pork, shrimp, bagoong, sili, whatever) on the top layer. Fold over the leaves into square (3×3 or a little bigger) and tie up. Then cook the squares in the coconut cream with ginger. These will make a nicer presentation when served rather than the unappealing shredded kind.

    Mar 17, 2015 | 10:54 pm

  10. Marketman says:

    kristin, frankly, I have never had the “itch” or “katol” and I would go further and say unless you really don’t cook the leaves and or eat it raw, you shouldn’t have the itch at all. We have always just semi-dried the leaves in the sun and cooked them well and never once have we experienced at itch… Perhaps it’s more old wives tale than anything else.

    Don’t get me wrong, gabi has oxalic acid, but it is neutralized by cooking the greens. Also, perhaps some people react more to the toxin than others, in a sort of allergy reaction that bothers some but doesn’t bother others…

    Mar 18, 2015 | 8:23 am

  11. d says:

    I unintentionally smoked gabi leaves that I did not know the help was drying on our roof near oven vent. This gave the laing a great flavor dimension we never tasted before. Hassle lang to do it everytime we make laing.

    Mar 18, 2015 | 8:25 am

  12. Natie says:

    Ooohhhh… My favorite. Roots, stems and all!

    Mar 18, 2015 | 10:05 am

  13. millet says:

    excited to see how it turned out!

    Mar 18, 2015 | 6:28 pm

  14. odessa says:

    Hi MM, great pics above! Aside from laing, sinasapin namin sya sa paksiw na isda , pwidi rin with takway and labog sa sinigang sa isda…:) I always end up with itchy hands after cleaning them, same with takway so afterwards i soak my hands in warm soapy water to get rid of the itch. no mixing till it’s cook to avoid the “itch”, my nanay says.

    Mar 19, 2015 | 2:25 pm

  15. EbbaBlue says:

    I cooked ginataang isda ith my homegrown gabi leaves LNG time ago; gave some to my sister. She told me afterwards that her throat n tongue itched bad, and I was confused because I was ok. So, it’s probably true that some are allergic to it, some do not.

    Mar 20, 2015 | 11:12 am

  16. joanie says:

    this bring back my childhood memories. growing up in a small town in Bicol, we eat this all the time. my father would mixed daing or dills sometimes. oh how I miss this. I also miss eating ginataang dahon ng kamoting kahoy…..mmm…mmmm buhay probinsya :)

    Mar 21, 2015 | 11:22 am

  17. Reincie Condat says:

    Its ‘gatol’ po..thats the Bikolnon word for itch.

    Mar 21, 2015 | 9:25 pm

  18. Gia Mayol says:

    My mom would cook these young leaves as a soup with tomatoes, onions, dahon sibuyas and smoked fish or tinapa. Then before turning off the heat, she would squeeze some kalamansi juice into the broth. This is a standard Holy Week dish for us at home. Good morning !

    Mar 29, 2015 | 9:12 am

  19. Victor Navarro says:

    we live in Seattle, WA and during winter we seldomly have sunny weather would you recommend drying taro leaves in the oven on low temp setting (<200 deg F) for say 30 minutes?
    thanks for your time kind regards

    Jan 24, 2016 | 1:38 am

  20. Marketman says:

    Victor, I have never tried drying them in an oven, but it’s worth a try on a small batch. I realize Seattle is one of the wettest places around, but if it’s winter, does the humidity drop down low? If it does, the leaves might dry in your garage. But if humidity is still high, that might not work…

    Jan 24, 2016 | 7:15 am


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