I couldn't think of anything to do with the dried fish anymore for I asked the Google of daing (aka my mom) for some ideas. Her reply?
I was trying to decipher the elusive three lettered answer to my dilemma when she replied again:
"Dbong o lngka."
Lightbulb moment. Ahhh. GATA.
She is so right! I heart gata but I was clueless where to get grated coconut. Then, the cosmos led me to it, though in a different form. I was buying the week's rice supply when I saw canned coconut milk! Perfect. I got one 400mL of coconut milk and a tetrapack (250mL) of coconut cream. Then, as an added push by fate, SM also offers pre-sliced unripe langka. How perfect is that?!
Again, with my handy dandy rice cooker, I boiled the langka for 10-15 minutes until they're tender. By the way, if you're going to use pre-sliced langka, it's bound to smell sour/acidic since it's been sitting there all day. That's perfectly fine, and to take the smell away, wash it well and boil it with a couple of bay leaves.
Set the boiled langka aside and start the gata by boiling the coconut MILK with ginger and onions. When the flavors have infused, add the langka and a finger chili and the daing (soaked in water to take out the saltiness) and boil for 5-10 minutes. After that, add salt and again, if you use it, some vetsin. Finally, add the coconut CREAM. The richest part is always added last, to maintain its richness. Season again if you like.
Allan is not a big gata fan, but I managed to shove this down his throat after threatening him with dagger looks. I think by the end of the meal, he was convinced.