These days, it might get pretty difficult to get ahold of healthy food from outside. Whether it’s the convenience of fast food chains or the general popularity of oily, fried meals, you might find yourself running out of options with regards to nutritious vegetable dishes. And even if you do end up finding vegetable meals you could order in, the freshness of the produce used can also be left to suspicion. That, and organic dishes are not often the cheapest choices in the market either. What, then, is the best option? I’d say, you could just make some of the most delicious, yet healthy dishes from home! And a great recipe to start with is the simple, yet tasty Ilonggo dish, Laswa.
Context on the classic vegetable soup, Laswa:
Laswa is essentially a boiled vegetable soup of the most varied, but harmonious set of ingredients. This actually originated in Iloilo, and it is often compared to another vegetable-filled soup dish called Dinengdeng. Both use heaps of vegetables to complete the dish. And some versions of Laswa also make use of bagoong. But Dinengdeng contains less vegetables, and is actually from Ilocos. Laswa ingredients, meanwhile, rely mainly on the vegetables, themselves to provide the flavor and texture.
With this, we are able to get a refreshingly savory, but mild taste from an ever comforting bowl of Laswa. But other than its taste and nutritional value, a perk of this recipe is its accessibility. Because it mostly uses ingredients we already often use in other Filipino dishes, it can be pretty easy to whip up in the kitchen. That, and the components it requires are very affordable.
It’s also a pretty flexible dish. This is because it is known to welcome other added vegetables you’d like to integrate with open arms. Because of its simplicity, you are able to also cutomize it as you would want to without compromising on flavor. And so I don’t know about you, but this talk about Laswa definitely makes me want to create some for myself. Let’s begin making some in the kitchen!
How to cook Laswa:
Start by pouring 5 cups of water into a cooking pot, and then boil this. Afterwards, you’ll be integrating 1 onion and 2 tomatoes, both of which you’ve cut into wedges. Then place your cover on top so we can let it boil for 5 minutes. Make sure that you are using medium heat for this step.
Now place 1 ½ cups of diced kalabasa squash, as well as 2 teaspoons of bagoong alamang or guinamos in the pot. Once again, we will be letting this boil for 5 minutes, as this provides much needed time for the flavors to sink in and make a delicious broth. Now we’ll put some more of our tasty vegetables, including 2 pieces of Chinese eggplant that are sliced. Also add 15 pieces of string beans that you’ve cut up so they are 2 inches long, as well as 8 pieces of okra. Once we’ve brought all of these to the pot, we can let them cook for 4 to 5 minutes.
Bringing in some protein by adding shrimp to the dish:
I enjoy having laswa with fried fish. Pomapano is one of my favorites.
It’s time to integrate some of that semi-sweet, delicious seafood flavor by placing 8 pieces of cleaned shrimp in the pot. Put the cover on top to keep the heat inside, and wait for this to cook for 1 minute. Then after this, you can go ahead and add 1 cup of saluyot leaves, 1 cup of Amaranth leaves or Kulitis, and 2 cups of alugbati. Stir these together thoroughly.
And for the last touch, we will be seasoning the soup with some salt and ground black pepper. Feel free to put as much as you’d prefer for this dish. This would also be great with some fried fish on the side!
Wasn’t that an ease to execute? This recipe truly is great, as it mainly involves putting together a bunch of nutritious vegetables in one pot to create the best flavor. What if I introduce you to a couple more yummy vegetable dishes to serve to the family?
What about you—what happens to be your favorite vegetable dish? Let me know in the comments! And feel free to type in any questions you might have here as well.