Spicy Pork and Spinach Coconut Soup



A Facebook picture post by my friend Antonio caught my attention (and palate) the other day. It was a pot of a spinach dish cooked in coconut milk.  I believe in Guam it is called golai hagun suni. This post kept me thinking about preparing a similar dish popular in the Philippines – ginataang laing (taro leaves cooked in coconut milk). In my trip to a Vietnamese grocery in San Jose to pick up some spinach, I came across an interesting variation of this leafy vegetable called mông tói, also called Malabar spinach (although my research tells me that it’s closer to the Basella as opposed to the spinach family).

In this recipe, I combined the flavors of laing and golai hagun suni and substituted taro leaves or spinach with mông tói.  I also chose to make it more “soupy” while adding some pork to make it versatile both as soup and entree.


4 cups, shredded mông tói

1/4 lb pork loin, cut into very small cubes

1 tbsp fresh garlic, peeled, crushed and chopped

1 tbsp onion, chopped

1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into small, thin strips

2 tbsp shrimp paste

1 green jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced

2 cups coconut milk

1 tbsp canola oil

1 tsp  salt


In a large wok, heat the oil

Add garlic and saute till golden brown

Add onion and ginger and stir

Add pork loin and cook till tender

Pour coconut milk and add the jalapeno pepper, shrimp paste and salt. Mix thoroughly.

Bring to a boil

Add the mông tói and reduce heat, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes

Remove from heat and serve as a soup or entree with steamed rice.

(Makes 4-6 servings)


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