Many Southeast Asian cuisines and Filipino dishes being one of those, uses a lot of ingredients not commonly found in other regional cooking. Bamboo shoots and jute, borders on the exotic side of cooking as they are not frequently prepared at home, especially for those who are living in the urban areas. However, they are a standard offering for people residing in the provinces, particularly those living in the fields and near the mountainside.
They might be uncommon, but they pack a nutritious punch, as both of our ingredients, the bamboo shoot, and jute, are filled with fibers and minerals that are not just good for the palate, but for our bodies as well. These humble and often overlooked vegetables are born from the resourcefulness of Filipinos when looking for an alternative, cheap, but nutritious food offering. Though simple, this recipe is very versatile as the main meat ingredients like the pork and shrimp, can be replaced by ingredients found in your pantry, creativity is your only limit.
So in this article, we desire to share with you the information you may need to know so that you can have the same love we have for this dish. We also included in this article the variations you can try so that you won’t get bored in preparing this dish for your loved ones. Plus, we also included in this article various methods, tips, and tricks that you can use when cooking Ginataang Labong at Saluyot.
What is Ginataang Labong at Saluyot
Labong is the Filipino name of the bamboo shoot, the edible part of the bamboo tree. For some of you might not be familiar with it, bamboo shoots are those white-colored protrusions that can be found at the base of the bamboo trees. They are young bamboo stalks, so they are not yet that tough, but they are very fibrous. They are harvested when they grow to about 6 inches in height, prolonging their harvest time makes them bitter.
Many Asian cuisines can be found using bamboo shoots in their list of ingredients. They can either be cooked stir-fried or used as an extender for meat dishes, and other Asian regions pickle them. However, preparing bamboo shoots requires skilled care as they contain toxins that can be harmful for human consumption. So it takes a right amount of boiling time before it can be used for cooking.
Saluyot or jute in English, on the other hand, is a green leafy vegetable commonly used in recipes that includes fish and also used in salads. They can be found growing everywhere, but usually found on the sides of the river and rice fields. They grow naturally and don’t need much cultivation as they instinctively thrive on their own, whether in cold or warm countries, and they thrive all year round.
Coconut milk, which is naturally abundant in the Philippines because of our tropical climate, is often used in the majority of our cuisines. The natural creaminess and mild sweetness of the coconut milk gives a well-rounded flavor to any dishes it is used for. They can either be savory, such as viands or sweet treats like many of traditional Filipino snacks collectively called kakanin.
Ginataang Labong at Saluyot is commonly enjoyed by folks living in rural communities, especially those who are living in the fields and mountainside. Bamboo clusters grow abundantly in those said areas, and bamboo shoots are harvested fresh and are the optimum choice when cooking recipes that used labong. And jute can be found practically growing everywhere, making it available all year round.
Ways to cook Ginataang Labong at Saluyot
Cooking our recipe can be done using various methods and kitchenwares. And the advancement of kitchen technology makes it even more convenient to cook our featured dish without much of the hassle of preparing it the traditional way. So what we did is, we listed down some of the ways you can cook Ginataang Labong at Saluyot at home for your loved ones to enjoy.
Slow Cooker Ginataang Labong at Saluyot
Probably one of the best ways of cooking our recipe using modern kitchenwares, the use of slow and steady heat is beneficial for bamboo shoots as it helps in removing the bitter taste of it and makes it tender.
Prior fo putting all the ingredients inside the pot, pre-boil the bamboo shoots first to remove the toxins present in it. In a high setting, place in all the sauteed ingredients inside the pot except for the coconut milk, and simmer them for about 30-45 minutes or until the bamboo shoots are tender. Once the bamboo shoots are tender, then that’s the time you add-in the coconut milk. This method is a sure way of tenderizing the shoots, which is naturally robust because of the fibers.
Pressure Cooker Ginataang Labong at Saluyot
The advantage of using a pressure cooker for this recipe is that it tenderizes the bamboo shoot for a shorter amount of time. Sautee all the ingredients first before putting them in the cooker with water. This method will take about 30 minutes of cooking time. Just before it’s cooked thoroughly, mix in the coconut milk and allow it to simmer for a few more minutes before turning off the heat.
Instant Pot Ginataang Kalabasa at Saluyot
This kitchenware is basically an all-in-one cooker and a pressure cooker as well, so this can be used as a suitable cooker for our recipe. You can sautee the ingredients in the pot of this kitchenware before putting in the lid and cooking them in high pressure. Once all the ingredients are tender, add in the coconut milk and simmer for a minute or two. This method of cooking requires less amount of time, and less amount of time means less energy consumption.
Cooking Ginataang Labong with Kalabasa is simple, and with that simplicity comes the many variations that can be made for this dish. Your creativity and ingenuity are the limits as many ingredients can be mixed in with the original recipe making it a very versatile vegetable dish. In fact, many provincial variants were created depending on the region where that variant was conceived. We listed some of these variations, to give you an idea of how you can serve this recipe in many ways.
Spicy Ginataang Labong at Saluyot
Spicy food mixed with coconut milk is indeed a perfect match. The creaminess of the milk complements the heat of the chilies. To make this variant, the process is rather simple. Just follow the steps in cooking the dishes and cook them until tender. Add in the chilies at the last part and simmer them for a minute or two to extract the spicy flavor and blend with the sauce. You can use finger chilies for milder heat or siling labuyo (red chilies) if you’re into genuinely spicy dishes.
Ginataang Labong at Saluyot with Dilis (Dried Anchovies)
The salty taste of the anchovies complements the creaminess of the coconut milk. Anchovies, especially dried ones, are commonly used ingredients, especially for vegetable dishes, because of its naturally salty taste that pairs well with them. To cook this variant, just follow the steps indicated in our recipe and add in the anchovies in the sauteing process, extracting the flavors from the dried fish. Simmer the dish until the bamboo shoots are tender, and use half of the amount of salt indicated in the recipe because the anchovies can compensate for it.
Ginataang Labong at Saluyot with Alimasag (Blue Crabs)
This particular variant is commonly found in the Visayas region, especially in coastal communities, as their waters are teeming with aquatic life. So it is only practical to include them in their recipes. The process is practically similar to what is indicated in the recipe; the only difference is the use of crabs. Simply follow the steps as the recipe instructs and cook it until the bamboo shoots are tender. The crabs don’t need a lot of time cooking so can simply add them at the last part and simmer them for about a minute or two or until the crabs change in color.
Ginataang Labong at Saluyot with Sardinas
Canned sardines, our go-to canned good when all else fails. A can of it is enough to get you through the day and is a perfect companion for a plate of plain white rice. And it can also be used as an ingredient for our featured recipe. The tomato sauce infused sardines are loaded with a rich and savory flavor that goes well with the tender and mildly sweet taste of the bamboo shoot.
Simply follow the process in cooking this recipe, as indicated. After sauteing the aromatics, mix in the sardines, followed by the vegetables. Add in the coconut milk and simmer them all together until all the rest of the ingredients are cooked thoroughly. This is one way of presenting and cooking sardines aside from the straight from the can eating.
Mistakes when cooking this dish are unavoidable at times, but do not fret because that’s normal. Committing mistakes and learning from them makes us wiser, that principle also applies in your culinary endeavor. So we noted some troubleshooting steps that you can use should mishaps occur while cooking our recipe.
- Slight bitter taste
There are two reasons why this problem can occur; first is if the bamboo shoots are not fresh. Second is not being able to boil the shoots appropriately. So if this happens, try adding more coconut milk and simmer them longer. You can also add salt to counteract the bitter taste.
- Runny or thin broth
Adding a slurry of a teaspoon of cornstarch dissolved in half a cup of water can help thicken the sauce.
Hey, cooking should be fun, right? And knowing a few fun facts and health benefits from foods we are eating gives us a little more reason to appreciate them even more. So here are some fun facts and trivia that are worth reading.
- Bamboo trees, the mature plant from where bamboo shoots came from are not actual trees, but a species of grass.
- Bamboo shoots are rich in dietary fibers, proteins, and carbohydrates but very low in fat content.
- Jute is not just used in cooking but considered as the second most important fiber plant next to cotton. It’s high tensile strength fibers are used in raw materials for textiles and packaging.
- Jute is also a cheap but abundant source of Vitamins A, C, E and Iron.
To make your Ginataang Labong at Kamote taste even better, we listed down some cooking tips that you can use to improve this dish and also to avoid incurring mishaps while cooking this vegetable treat.
- Use freshly pressed coconut milk rather than the canned or powdered one. Or better yet, do the pressing yourself at home. You can produce two batches of coconut milk that can both be used for our dish, and the first batch called coconut cream, is richer in taste.
- If possible, when planning to cook this dish, always choose the freshest one than the pre-packed bamboo shoots. That way, you can easily determine if the shoots are harvested fresh. The suggested time for harvesting the shoots are six weeks from the time they sprouted as they contain less bitter taste.
- Before cooking, makes sure to pre-boil the bamboo shoots in water for about 20 minutes to remove the bitter taste that is caused by the toxins naturally present in the sprouts.
Best Served With
Foods taste better when paired with other yummy treats. So here are some suggested foods that can be paired with our recipe.
Filipino meals can never be complete without a plate of steaming white rice. And the creaminess of the dish is further highlighted by the bland taste of the rice, making it a perfect canvass.
- Fried Fish (Galunggong, Tilapia)
Salty and creamy balance each other out perfectly. A serving of our veggie treat eaten with crispy fried fish is truly a perfect match.
- Atcharang Papaya ( Pickled Papaya)
The slightly sweet and tangy taste of the atchara is excellent to complement with the creaminess of the Ginataang Labong at Saluyot. The acidity of the atchara also helps in cutting down the richness of the coconut milk.
With all the right things shared about our featured recipe, we would not be surprised to know that this is going to be your family’s next meal. Just make sure to follow the steps, and you can never go wrong in cooking this dish. Plus, you can also add your twist to it to make it your very own version of Ginataang Labong at Saluyot. Till next time and happy cooking!
For more delicious recipe, visit Eat Like Pinoy!
How to Make the Best Ginataang Labong at Saluyot
- 1 cup Bamboo shoot sliced
- 2 cups Jute leaves
- 1/2 cup Pork or shrimp
- 1 pc Onion medium size, chopped
- 1 cup Coconut milk
- 1/4 tsp Salt to taste
- 3 1/2 cups Water
- 2 cloves Garlic minced
- 1 tbsp Cooking Oil
- In a pot, combine 3 cups of water and bamboo shoots. Simmer for 10 minutes.
- Then, remove the shoots from the pot and squeeze. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a casserole. Sauté garlic and onions, then add the pork. Cook for about 5 minutes.
- Add the bamboo shoots, 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup coconut cream. Then stir for 5 minutes or until it boils.
- Then, add the remaining coconut cream and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Put the jute leaves or saluyot on the casserole. Cover and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Serve while hot!