Hailing from the Bicol region has taught me that practically anything tastes better with coconut milk. Bicolanos cook every imaginable vegetable in coconut milk, from sigarilyas to gabi leaves to unripe langka and even santol! We even have a version of dinuguan with coconut milk!
Coconut milk is such a wonderful ingredient and it's too bad that many people will never be able to try cooking with freshly extracted gata. The canned version is passable, but it never really measures up. When coconut milk is simmered for a long time, it gives off this magnificent oil that gives dishes such wonderful depth of flavor.
Unfortunately, fresh coconut is hard to come by here in Canada. I doubt that the coconut is among their major agricultural products :-P
Ginataang Sitaw (Long Beans in Coconut Milk)
1 bunch long beans cut into 2 inch pieces
200 grams ground pork
1 medium onion, sliced
1 tsp chopped garlic
2 tsp. bagoong/shrimp paste
1 can coconut milk
3-4 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp chili flakes or a couple of chilis, chopped (optional)
1. Saute garlic and onion until fragrant.
2. Add pork and saute until pork is no longer pink.
3. Add bagoong and mix with pork.
4. Add coconut milk and fish sauce. This would also be the time to add chili, if using.
5. Turn heat down and simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6. When the coconut milk has reduced to about 2/3 its original volume, add beans.
7. Simmer for 5-7 minutes more until beans are done.