Kulawong Talong is a Filipino dish of char-grilled eggplants served in a coconut cream sauce where coconut meat is burnt over hot embers before the milk is extracted, yielding a smoky creamy flavour.
Do you know what “Kulawo” means? Have you ever tried dishes that are prepared using the Kulawo method? If not, then this will be exciting for you as it is a method or dish in the Filipino cuisine where meats and or vegetables are cooked using coconut milk where coconut strands are burnt from charcoals giving the dish a very smoky and creamy flavour. This method is popular in Laguna and Quezon Provinces where coconuts are abundant, usually the most popular vegetable used on this method are the banana buds/heart and eggplant but like ginataan the possibilities are endless.
For our recipe today, I will be adjusting the recipe based on the ingredients that are available to me, living in New Zealand pose a difficulty in using fresh coconuts and grating them, charcoal is another hassle as well. So instead of toasting coconut meat, grilling them and milking it we will be using canned coconut cream, coconut threads that I burnt in the oven and flavour it that way. It is an easy preparation as well with a near similar taste, I will also be using eggplant for this dish.
I love the result, it’s like ginataang talong but with a very smoky fragrant twist, I also added chillies for that extra zing making it a perfect side dish to anything grilled like fish or meats.
Using a fork, prick your eggplants across its surface, season your eggplants with salt then set it aside.
Prepare a charcoal grill or stove top grill then grill your eggplants with skin on until charred and cooked.
Let it cool then remove and discard the skin, set it aside.
In a bowl combine half of the coconut milk and the coconut thread, let the coconut thread absorb the milk then place it on a baking tray and bake in a 200C preheated oven until the coconut threads turn brown. Remove from oven then set aside.
In a large sauce pan add oil then sauté garlic, ginger and shallots.
Add the remaining coconut milk, coconut cream and the burnt coconut threads. Bring to a boil and let is simmer for 10 minutes in low heat.
Using a fine mesh sieve, strain the liquid and place on a separate sauce pan, add the eggplants slightly mashing it bring to a simmering heat, cook for 2 more minutes then season with fish sauce and freshly ground black pepper.