If there was a Pinoy dish that I was very eager to make as a first-time cook, it was Laing. I am sure that you will all agree that there is something about Laing that makes you drool and scream for rice. You GATA love Laing! (Another witty wordplay right there! Kidding!!!)
Laing as most know is quite a tricky dish to cook especially when you are under experienced in the kitchen. Some say if you do not do it properly, the gabi that you add tend to make your tongue itchy. However I still pushed for this dish. Although I have had some tantrums that my Mom and Wowa (who are great cooks in their own right and kitchens!) had to endure along the way as I perfected this recipe.
I remember one time I wanted to cook Laing for a group of people at work. I was so confident I could do it. And it turned out undercooked as the aing leaves didn’t quite absorb the coconut cream while the bottom was already burnt! And the gabi was nothing but MAKATI! I felt I could still remedy it ON MY OWN. But my very thoughtful Wowa, in her compassion and love for me helped and ran to rescue. However, being the insecure cook I was 2 years ago, I took it offensively. All she wanted was to make the Laing taste good for the people I wanted to please. But in my head, yes it may taste so great but it is no longer I who made that. That is not MY laing anymore, I said quietly in my head but with tears in my eyes! (I am laughing now as I recollect.)
I guess I was THAT insecure when I was starting to cook. Because my Mom and Wowa are EXCELLENT cooks. My Wowa can whip up 6 dishes in 4 hours for our regular Sunday Family lunch with zero help from anyone. I always thought that was magical. While my Mom is very very adventurous in her cooking. She adds the weirdest ingredients in a dish that surprisingly ends up… well ends up in us finishing the entire thing. So you see, they are so gifted in the hot kitchen. While I, the only baker, was such a chicken in hopping from measuring cups and spoons to the “add to taste” method. I wasn’t just a coward but also unwilling and proud. (yes, yes pride chicken will not give me anything!) Perhaps a part of me just simply wanted to gain their approval. I wanted to create a dish that did not need their help in any way that will please them instantly. But oh well that’s the truth, we all must go through bitter failures first before that sweet victory.
To cut the long story short, that experience taught me quite a few things:
- If you wanna learn, you must have a humble and teachable heart. Be willing to be told what to do.
- Cooking, much like my baking requires FAITH. Never doubt until the end. BELIEVE BELIEVE BELIEVE that what you are creating would taste great. So fill it with so much love and faith! Like what I always say, MANALIG KA!
So there goes my Lousy Laing story. 🙂 I have managed to quantify my ingredients so this dish may be replicated in your homes for the ones you love. Feel free to add as much love and singing and talking while preparing this and make it the best Laing ever that everyone just GATA love it. (wink wink)