Tilmok ( Pinangat) is the Bicolano term for coconut meat. The other main ingredient of the dish is crab meat. The preparation of tilmok starts with the mixing of coconut meat and the crab meat together. Garnishing is added after the meats are mixed. The mixed “meats” are put inside banana leaves and then steamed. This delicious dish is popular among locals and even foreigners.
- ½ kg freshwater shrimp, peeled and seasoned with 1 ½ tbsp salt
- 600g meat of young coconut (about 5 young coconuts), grated
- 2 onions, chopped
- 2 tbsp. grated ginger
- 6 cloves garlic
- Few pieces of chillies (I used 2 birds’ eye chillies and would have used more if not for the special request of the hubby not to make it super spicy)
- 20 to 30 fresh taro leaves (should be intact with no holes)
- kitchen string with which to tie each pinangat
- 6 to 8 stalks of lemongrass (lower white portions only), smashed
- 3 to 4 cups Pure coconut milk
For the sauce/ topping:
- 2 cups thick coconut cream
- 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 4 shallots, finely chopped
- 2 stalks lemongrass (lower white stalks), sliced
- salt to taste
- 3 to 5 spring onions, finely chopped
- Combine the shrimp, grated young coconut, onion, ginger, garlic and chillies and chop them together using a large knife or cleaver until the mixture looks like cornmeal. I used the food processor for this task.
- Wrap 2 to 3 tablespoons of the mixture in two (overlapping) taro leaves and tie each with a kitchen string. I did not have kitchen string so I made use of the stalk of the taro leaves.
- Line a heavy-bottom pot with the smashed lemongrass and arrange the pinangat pieces on top. Pour the thin coconut milk over the pinangat.
- Cover the pot and simmer over low heat, shaking it once in a while to prevent burning. The pinangat is done when the taro leaves are already soft or when all of the thin coconut milk has evaporated.
- While the pinangat is cooking, boil together in a separate saucepan the thick coconut cream, garlic, shallots and lemon grass. Season with salt and simmer until the mixture resembles a thick creamy sauce. Sprinkle the spring onions on top and remove from heat.To serve, arrange the pinangat in a wide platter and top with the sauce.