Kangkong stems, often discarded in favor of the leafier ends, turn into the unlikely star of this gising-gising.
Our chef, Selina, got this gising-gising recipe from her dad, who led a vegetarian lifestyle for over 25 years. Most of the prep time goes into chopping the kangkong stems into inch-long pieces. Simmering in spicy coconut milk gives them a tender bite.
This recipe has another unusual gising-gising ingredient: charred eggplants. Smoky talong adds a velvety, meaty body to go with the soft stems. Mash them as you would with tortang talong, season with salt, and slice into small slabs to make a bed for the kangkong stems.
- 3–4 eggplants
- 6 large garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 small onion, finely minced
- 2–3 tbsp shrimp paste or bagoong
- 2 red chilies, divided, whole and finely chopped (optional)
- 1 ½ cup coconut milk
- 1 lb (450g) kangkong stems
- chicharon, for garnish (optional)
- salt and pepper, to taste
Prepare Eggplant Base
Char eggplants: Prepare an open flame on a gas stove. Using tongs, place eggplants near the heat source to char the skin. Rotate eggplant until completely black on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, cover in plastic wrap, and set aside until cool to the touch. Repeat with remaining eggplants.
Mash and slice eggplants: Once eggplants are cool enough to handle, peel off the burnt skin until there are no black spots left. With a fork, mash the eggplant meat then slice into four pieces, discarding the stem. Season with salt and set aside.
Cook aromatics: Heat oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add garlic and onion. Sauté until fragrant and slightly translucent. Do not brown.
Cook kangkong stems: Add shrimp paste and chilies (if using) to the pan. Mix well to combine, then season with pepper to taste. Pour coconut milk into the pan. Once liquid comes to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer, 10 minutes. Add kangkong stems and simmer until tender, 5–10 minutes.
Serve: Lay seasoned eggplant on a serving plate in a single layer. Pour kangkong gising gising over the eggplant. Garnish with crumbled chicharon (if using) and serve with rice.