Saturday Lunch at Marketman’s…


So I had spectacular furled taro (gabi) leaves on hand. And I had the highest of expectations. And while I would say I got an 8/10 dish, I did somewhat screw up the rare opportunity. In the photo above, a phenomenally good trio of dishes… a slow-cooked pork belly adobo, some bicol express and some laing all in one fork/spoon full. Incredibly delicious.


For the laing, we carefully stripped the leaves and shredded them to smaller pieces (a mistake according to some folks in comments on my previous post). I gather these are so tender they would have been good left whole. I sautéed some aromatics, pork and freshly squeezed coconut cream, but I made the error of NOT letting the cream thicken up enough. Obviously, I was in a bit of a hurry. And when I added the leaves, they exuded more water than I had counted on, so the final dish was a tad watery/soupy. But never mind, it tasted terrific.


I will know better the next time around. Cooking in the three pots above are the laing, bicol express and adobo. Can you smell the aromas wafting out of our kitchen?!?


So from a furled gabi leaf novice like myself, my best tips are that you should make your coconut cream as thick as possible before you add the leaves, and don’t cook the leaves for too long, or they will get mushy.


For the adobo, I followed my recipe for the three hour palayok adobo with no soy sauce, but did it in a Staub enameled pot on a gas burner for two hours. To add a touch of color, I added two tablespoons of soy sauce. The results were delicious. Melt-in-your-mouth pork belly and enough sauce to drown your rice in.


Those whole small baby garlic bulbs are a house favorite. More on them in the next post.


The bicol express turned out watery as well, I should have reduced the coconut cream for another 10-12 minutes perhaps. These three large pots of lunchtime goodies were enjoyed by just Mrs. MM and myself and all of the crew at home. Mrs. MM sent a photo to our daughter who was halfway around the world in bitter winter weather conditions and she typed back… “mom, you are killing me.” :)


19 Responses

  1. Hi MM. My family has been cooking laing for many years. The procedure was to put all the ingredients in the pot and wait until the coconut cream thickens so much that a white layer would form on top. This would take 1-2 hours until, or up to that point when “naglalangis na yung gata”. The leaves never turn mushy, maybe because gabi is naturally fibrous. We were told NEVER, not even once, to stir the concoction or you’ll end up with a dish that will make your throat itch for hours.

  2. MM, yummy-looking dishes! In our place in Bataan, we also cook ‘laing’ with large prawns and a little ‘bagoong alamang’. What are those leaves in your adobo?

  3. Phil, fresh bay leaves from the garden. I also add some dried ones as well. Tina, will have to try that version, but I suspect that’s for the older gabi leaves, no?

  4. I think it’s safe to say that your posts and photos kill most of us Pinoys living abroad. While I can get dried taro leaves easily here in Vancouver, no chance of the young, furled ones. I do miss a good laing. Undoubtedly the best one I had was at Zubudagat last month. Heh heh.

    Oh to go back there once again.



  5. There are some recent articles in social media about rice losing calories after being left to cool for 12 hours. I still do not know the veracity of this information. Bahaw or kaning kamig is healthier if the said information is true. I have significantly reduced my rice intake but I still cannot imagine having laing with a wasa cracker. It has to be with rice.

  6. Bicolano cuisine is one of my favorites, if not my absolute favorite, regional cuisine of the Philippines…so you can imagine, this is “killing me” as well!! I love laing and Bicol Express. I usually have it with oh, maybe, A TON of rice (and I’m not counting calories Lee! Although I know I should!). Add the pork belly adobo and this is a dream meal! Love those young garlic too…I make sure to get a bunch every time I see them in the market. Have yet to try them with adobo but looking at your post has me slapping my forehead…of course that’s perfect! Soon for sure!!

  7. Sending pictures of home-cooked meals to loved ones overseas = torture. Especially if you have relatives or friends working in the Middle East. A picture of inihaw na liempo or crispy pata will most likely drive them nuts and reduce them to a slobbering mess. >:D

  8. Lee, those articles you mentioned also suggested to add a few tablespoons of coconut milk after the water boils… wonder if it really works?

  9. Appreciate the Be Cool team but I can only take these three glorious dishes one at a time and preferably with great intervals to separate one from the other and to allow myself sufficient recovery.

    I also get what you mean with doing prime ingredients justice. I guess one upholds the most important standards of the Hippocratic oath, that is, above all do no harm. This is the abiding tenet of Bernard Pacaud’s cooking. For those conversant in French, here’s the link: httpss://

  10. In Bikol..we call it ‘natong’ and not laing..yuN tatay ko po would always pick the mushy leaves variety and not the other sturdier variety. The sturdier variety of gani leaves once cooked is left dry and naglalangis na while the mushy type of leaves is always cooked left watery or masabaw/ masarsa. My father is from Cam.Sur but it was an Ilokano boyfriend that taught me the secret of a ‘gatol’-less or no-itchy-feel-in-the mouth natong is via cooking it over high flame ang never covering the pot.

  11. The laing in the Sunday Market in Eton Centris is one of the best I’ve tasted. The crab meat version is really quite delicious. The stall where it’s sold is one of the corner booths near the road.

  12. The best Laing I’ve ever tasted was cooked by me using marketmans online laing recipe. it wasn’t a picture perfect replica but it sure was tasty.

  13. These look sooooo good!

    Super-novice cook here but just have to ask: for your 3 hour no-soy sauce palayok adobo recipe, do you think a Le Creuset dutch oven on the stovetop would work? I really would like to try your recipe.

  14. Allison, yes it would. But some suggestions for adjustments. Firstly, keep the lid a bit open so some of the waters steams away. Second, for some color, you may choose to add 2-3 tablespoons of soy sauce, alternatively, do the double evil of pan frying the resulting adobo to get that brown caramelized exterior to the meat, otherwise it will be a bit pale. And you might have to check the meat after 1 hour and 45 minutes and keep checking it after that. I found that two hours in my Staub/Le Creuset on the stovetop was plenty of time to get the meat tender. After an hour or so if it is very watery leave the top off altogether. In a palayok, the ceramic pot wicks away some of the moisture compared to a steel and enamel pot… good luck!



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