Tolaswa-blue-bowl-1.jpgday at lunch, we savored the oh so sweet fruit of our patola vine. My trusted and able house-angel Ging-Ging made laswa (las-wa), the quintessential Ilonggo dish. Into this laswa figured our freshly harvested patola together with leaves of the tugabang (saluyot in Filipino; considered a weed in other places) also from my backyard, and balunggay from the empty lot beside our home. Except for the kalabasa (squash) and the pasayan (shrimps) that were bought, our laswa practically cost nothing. Talk about self-sufficiency.
Because of the truly fresh organic green veggies in our laswa for today (patola, tugabang and balunggay), this Ilonggo south beach-y recipe was truly sweet and clean and healthy. Our laswa was even made more delicious by the thought that this was the produce of our own little urban garden. It just felt good to be eating the fruits of what one planted. Yet, I don’t consider myself a green-thumb. All I did was plant the seeds and check their growth once in a while. Of couse, water it too. I didn’t really invest so much effort into it. The land is just good to us Ilonggos. I guess, the bottom line for today’s anecdote is: Go and plant and multiply your joy it will. (sounds Star Warssy)

Patola is a basic ingredient in the Ilonggo laswa. But I developed another quick and easy recipe with patola as the star. Check out Inday Hami’s Patola Saute.