The term “Pinangat” has various interpretations depending on the region in the Philippines where it’s being used. Typically, it refers to the method of wrapping a variety of ingredients, like fish and tomatoes, with banana leaves, then cooking them in a sour broth made from citrus fruits such as calamansi, bilimbi, or tamarind. In contrast, the Bicol Pinangat is a dish that involves knotting ingredients like crab meat, pork, chicken, or dried fish with spices, then stewing them in coconut milk while wrapped in fresh taro leaves.

Pinangat na Laing is one of the popular Filipino taro leaves recipes that originated and is widely served in many Bicolano households. It is often confused with Laing, which mainly uses shredded, dried taro leaves with meat or fish ingredients. Millie’s version of Pinangat na Laing features shredded crab meat, chicken, and coconut flakes, giving the dish a unique and delicious twist.

Ingredients: 4-6 servings

2 bundles of fresh, cleaned gabi or laing(taro) leaves
1-2 cups of boiled, Dungeness crabmeat
2 pieces of shredded chicken breast(boiled)
1 cup of grated or shredded coconut meat
1 thumb size ginger, thinly chopped
5 cloves of finely chopped garlic(divide in 2 portions)
1 large, chopped onion(divide in 2 portions)
1 large can(13.66 oz) of coconut milk
1-2 stalks of lemon grass
2-3 pieces of chopped, red hot chili peppers
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup of water

Cooking Preparation:

  1. On a large bowl, combine all chopped ingredients(half of onions and garlic, crabmeat, chicken, grated coconut, chili peppers, salt and pepper. Apply half a can of the coconut milk, add water, mix thoroughly then set aside.
  2. Remove the gabi(taro) leaves stalks, gently wash and clean the leaves thoroughly. Remember that taro leaves contain a poisonous substance that can cause throat itching when not properly cleaned.
  3. Select a few small leaves and finely shred, then use the rest to wrap the main ingredients in portions. Using a large spoon gather ingredients in portions. Place each portion on one or two whole gabi(taro) leaves.
  4. Wrap each portion with the leaves then secure it by folding each end of the gabi leaf to form square poaches, then tie each with lemon grass stalks followed by a clean thread.
  5. Pour the remaining coconut milk, garlic and onions on a large pot, apply salt and peppers, add ginger and lemon grass, then stir to combine.
  6. Immerge all of the wrapped pieces of Pinangat into the coconut mixture, apply the shredded gabi leaves on top and gently stir to combine.
  7. Cover the pot with its lid, bring it in to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the lid after 30 minutes, scrape some of the coconut curds around the pot and pour them on top of the Pinangat na Laing pieces.
  8. Continue to simmer for 5 minutes without stirring, until this homemade Pinangat na Laing poaches are completely cooked. To test if cooked, use a fork to open one of the poaches and perform a taste test.
  9. When done, serve this uniquely delicious, Filipino taro leaves recipe, then serve it hot with steamed rice.

Note: We normally use coconut strings to tie up each Pinangat poach, but lemongrass stalks are a perfect substitute. Top Millie’s homemade, Pinangat na Laing with whole chili peppers prior to serving. Use calamansi juice with a small portion of fish sauce as a condiment for consumption.