November 14, 2013

dinengdeng with mussels

Dinengdeng! Also known as inabraw. The staple dish of the Ilokanos to go with innapuy or steamed rice. A medley of vegetables, preferably green leafy veggies, boiled or blanched in bugguong (fish sauce/paste) broth. With or without a sagpaw (an add on of either fish or meat, grilled, fried, or dried).

Or with shellfish. Like kaggo (big brackish water clam). Or tahong (kappo, mussel).

Oh, this is a really different dinengdeng, a first time that I tried to add tahong in it:
Photographs courtesy of Pinakbet Republic.

Here, our beloved dinengdeng will comprise saluyot, squash flowers, and kabatiti (sponge gourd):

The veggies are ready:

Boil the bugguong essence in a minimal water, put in the kabatiti first, simmer, then put in the saluyot and squash flowers, steam briefly then put the mussels atop and steam quickly to cook:

And here’s it, my unusual dinengdeng, well, kind of. The tahong’s unique flavor and scent fused with the bugguong’s inherent aroma and the natural sweetness of the fresh veggies made this one dinengdeng phenomenal. And see, it’s gorgeous even, a colorful blend :

More dinengdengs:


November 11, 2013

mongo beans soup with rattan bud/shoot

Boiled mongo (balatong, mung beans), sautéed with lots of onions and garlic, is one stable Filipino viand especially preferred during rainy and cold days. Paired with a variety of other vegetables (specially green leafy veggies) and meat and fish sagpaws (add-on), it’s one appetizing dish to go with steamed rice. A favorite companion vegetable is usually the leaves or fruit of paria (amargoso, ampalaya, bitter melon) as the bitterness of it is just a perfect flavor of the exotic kind to blend with the starchy balatong.

And speaking of exotic bitterness, here’s a bunch of rattan shoot (ubog ti way) to offer just that bitterness:

Peeling of the stalks of the shoots:

And there’s the boiled balatong ready:

The ubog now cut and ready:

The sautéed balatong now being boiled with the ubog ti way:

And it’s done, here’s one bean soup with a touch of exoticness, bitter but so delicious and comforting:

See more ubog recipes:

November 7, 2013

straw mushrooms soup with patola and wild bittermelon

Mushrooms, mushrooms! And what’s more delicious than those growing and picked from the wild, like these gorgeous straw mushrooms (locally called uong garami or uong saba):

And paired with these equally wild or “native” vegetables for a truly exotic veggie delicacy—wild bittermelon (balang a paria) shoots and fruit, and patola (sponge gourd, kabatiti):

Small but insanely bitter vegetable fruit to challenge or tantalize your palate:

Cooked in the traditional Ilokano dinengdeng way, here’s the eventual result—all that mushroom flavor with the double dose of exotic wild paria bittery goodness and sweetened by the native kabatiti, all in fusion with the essence of bugguong (fish paste/sauce):

See more mushroom treats and recipes:

  • Uong ken lantong-utong, wild mushroom with young bean stalks/shoots
  • Dinengdeng nga uong-mais ken uggot-marunggay, wild mushrooms and marunggay leaves
  • Dinengdeng nga uong-bunton ken balang a paria, wild mushroom soup with bitter melon leaves

  • ~~~~~

    October 30, 2013

    eel soured with palali (catmon) fruit

    Eel adobo soured with palali fruit. (Photos courtesy of Pinakbet Republic).

    Igat (eel, palos) is unusually abundant these days in Cagayan Valley (Region 2, Philippines), what with a reported one ton daily export to countries who relish this rather slimy but very tasty fish, especially the Japanese, Chinese, Koreans. And these are eels gathered in the rice paddies in the region, mostly growing wild. A kind of small eel called kiwet is even considered now as a pest in the ricefields in the valley, especially in Nueva Vizcaya and Isabela, because this eel burrow and bore in the soil, making holes and thus draining the rice paddies. Farmers gather it as a delicacy though and one of the preferred way of cooking it is deep frying it in oil to make it crispy and crunchy.

    Some do not like eels because of its distinct sliminess and overwhelming langsi or lang-es (fishy stench, lansa). But proper cleaning and cooking can rid these and turn it into a very tasty fish dish, like adobo, paksiw, even sinigang (sour soup). It can also simply be grilled. And it’s perfect for  tapa or daing (sun-dried, salted or smoked).

    One Sunday morning, I saw these gorgeous eels for sale along the highway in Iguig, Cagayan. Live eels in various sizes still wriggling. I was told these were caught in the nearby Cagayan River. I bought one stringful of three eels for PhP100. I like to think it’s a bargain. These are kind of exotic fish and is prized by some gourmands who claim it’s an aphrodisiac food and therefore insanely expensive in some countries:

    I cut and cleaned the eels, repeatedly rinsed it in water to get rid of the slime and draining all its blood thoroughly:

    I intend to cook it into an adobo, dry and a bit salty stew which is just apt for the firm texture of this fish. I decided not to use vinegar as a souring agent and instead opted to use palali (catmon) fruit:

    I cooked my adobo nga igat in slow fire for all the flavors and spices (soy sauce, garlic, black peppercorn) and sourness to seep in. As it cooks, the fish will literally ooze its fat:

    Simmered into a dry, palali-soured adobo, the igat is here rendered phenomenally tasty and delicious, I say that the the palali fruit as a souring agent further removed the fishy smell than a vinegar can, adding more flavor into the delicate but firm eel flesh:


    September 17, 2013


    Igat (eel, palos in Tagalog) is a kind of delicacy preferred by some connoisseurs who swear it has some good aphrodisiac quality, and also considered as gourmet or exotic even by some culinary adventurers because eel is an expensive fish in some parts.

    In the Philippines, igat is usually cooked somewhat dry as in paksiw (soured), adobo, or with coconut milk. Some like it with a little soup or broth and they cook it as sinigang. It's also perfect for daing or salted/dried/smoked, or just simply grilled.

    Sinigang nga igat in Bagabag, Nueva Vizcaya. Photo credit: makan: igat sadiay bagabag

    Paksiw nga igat in Tabuk City, Kalinga. Photo credit: makan: igat with beer

    A huge dried eel at for sale in Tuguegarao City. Photo credit: makan: daing nga igat


    September 11, 2013

    kilawen a kalding (goat "salad")

    This is "kilawen a kalding" ("kilawing kambing" in Tagalog) or goat's singed/burnt skin and grilled meat and liver chopped and spiced and made into a kind of "salad." An Ilokano dish, it's kind of "exotic" to others but is a popular goat dish throughout the Philippines. What's distinctly Ilokano about it is that Ilokano folks, used to bitterness, err, bitter food, usually season it with the goat's bile or the pespes (extract of the undigested grass) itself.

    Let's take a look at the mystery of this authentic Ilokano delicacy... Here's the goat's skin/hide, its hair singed, cleaned, this is slightly boiled to tenderize the hide:

    And this is the meat and the liver, slightly grilled and so it's succulent and sweet:

    Chopping time!

    Chopped goat goodies:

    And spiced with onions, ginger, salt, some vinegar (calamansi juice is better), chili if you prefer it really spicy, and pour in some bile or pespes and thoroughly mix the whole lot:



    August 21, 2013

    goat intestines stew

    This is goat intestines stewed, literally, with its own juice--the extract of the masticated grass inside the intestines. It's a savory, bitter soup favored by Ilokanos in the Philippines and all over. And goat's is prized for this kind of exotic dish, called "pinapaitan", aside from beef or carabao (water bufallo). It's not really an exotic one as this is so common in the Philippines especially in the Ilocos or Ilokano-speaking areas in the country.

    The boiled/tenderized whole intestines being cut into bite pieces:

    More pinapaitan tales: