|Course||Main course, side dish|
|Place of origin||Philippines|
|Main ingredients||Coconut milk, banana blossom/eggplant, red onion, salt, black pepper, vinegar|
|Variations||kulawong talong, kulawong puso ng saging|
Kulawo Filipino salad made with either minced banana blossoms (kulawong puso ng saging) or grilled eggplants (kulawong talong) cooked in coconut milk that is distinctively extracted from grated coconut meat toasted on live coals. It is a pre-colonial dish that originates from the provinces of Laguna and Quezon. Kulawo is a type of kilawin and ginataan. It is fully vegan and has a unique smoky taste that has been compared to smoked meat or fish dishes.
The original pre-colonial version of kulawo uses finely diced or julienned banana blossoms that is mixed with salt for a few minutes and then squeezed dry and washed to remove the bitter sap. Grated coconut is then placed in a container with live coals (usually from burning coconut husks) until the grated coconut is toasted brown and emits a slightly burned odor. In modern versions, they can also be toasted briefly in an oven. The toasted grated coconut is then separated from the coals and moistened with vinegar. It is allowed to cool down and then squeezed to extract coconut milk that now has a smoky flavor. The coconut milk is then heated slowly with vinegar (usually coconut or cane vinegar), red onions, salt, and black pepper. Other spices can also be added to taste, including garlic, ginger, shallots, fish sauce, and chili peppers. The coconut milk must be heated slowly and prevented from boiling to avoid curdling. The banana blossoms are then added last and cooked until tender.
A more modern variant uses eggplant (introduced during the Spanish colonial period) that is first grilled until soft and then peeled and mashed.
Kulawong puso ng saging is also sometimes known as minanok (literally "done like chicken"), due to its texture being similar to shredded chicken. Despite the name, it does not contain any meat.
Some versions do add cooked meat, like pork belly (liempo), especially in adaptations in other regions. But this is non-traditional.