dinengdeng, glorious dinengdeng!

I'm a typical Ilokano who can't live without dinengdeng, come share my passion...

various authentic, exotic, ilokano pinakbets

Concoction or variations of this kind of exotic Ilokano dish, of this ever ubiquitous vegetable stew...

sinanglaw? paksiw? which?

What do you prefer, Vigan-sinanglaw or Laoag-paksiw? What about pinapaitan and singkutsar?

unnok/ginukan, freshwater shellfish

Want some unnok soup or ginukan bugguong?

baradibud a tugi, lesser yam vegetable stew

Tugi, for some, is only meant to be boiled and eaten simply as is. But for me, it's an indispensable ingredient for yet another hearty Ilokano dish...


ginisa a kamatis ken lasona iti bugguong, sautéd tomato and onions in bugguong

Besides having kamatis as a perfect kilawen, that is the Ilokano way, being the "K" in the famous "KBL" or Ilokano's own version of the Mexican salsa, raw kamatis with bugguong and lasona (preferably the small, "native" Ilocos variety ones), well, tomato is also preferred and prepared in various ways, raw or cooked.

One of my favorites being that of the ginisa a kamatis. And of course, and still, together, with its loyal pair: bugguong & lasona. When I say bugguong, I equally consider both nabugguong a lames (salted fish/fish fermented in salt) and nabugguong nga aramang (salted shrimp paste). Fish and shrimp. For bugguong nga aramang (which by the way defines the Tagalog pakbet), it's also perfect for KBLs especially with young lasona with sweet and tender stems and leaves. I usually buy only bugguong-aramang for this purpose, and for my ginisa a kamatis.

Naigisa a kamatis ken lasona, with bugguong nga aramang.

Making this kind of appetizer dish is just so simple and easy. You sauté in oil some garlic and the lasona of course, brown and caramelize it (optionally, you can add some ginger). Then put in the bugguong-aramang (or the bugguong-lames juice if it is so), put in just a little amount of it to moderate saltiness (you can add more later to taste if the saltiness is enough for you). Stir-fry quickly and evenly, the unbearable aroma of its being bugguong will surely be so intimidating, demanding, right now as you stir it up, making you hungrier. Then add the sliced tomatoes. stir quickly and evenly, then simmer a bit. Add a pinch of sugar if you prefer, or some teaspoonfuls of tomato sauce and/or tomato catsup, optionally, to thicken it. Add some cracked peppercorns or spice it with a dash of chili powder. Do not overcook it or it becomes overly soggy and soupy and inconsistently sour. Some prefer it with more broth and add water to cook. I like it with minimal and thick sauce-like broth. Your ginisa a kamatis will be soupy if you don't remove the seeds. Removing of the seeds is optional for you, as varieties of tomatoes vary, some has watery seeds. I remove the seeds as necessary, if it's too watery.

When done, the end result would be as lovely as this:

Absolutely gorgeous! as Jamie Oliver would have to exclaim if he himself have ever tasted, and cooked, this thing of gastronomic beauty:

The fusion of saltiness, sourness, sweetness, great flavor and aroma, is a real bliss and blessing as you consume your steamed rice and main dishes with it.

Another ginisa a kamatis, no young lasonas this time, and it's equally good and delicious:



saluyot & buntiek, soured saluyot stew with grilled mudfish

I usually cook saluyot solo and the usual Ilokano way: napaksiw, napakbet, tinimtiman, inalseman. Whatever you may call it, it's the same: soured, with either plain vinegar or with souring agents such as sour fruits like pias, kalamansi or dalayap juice, green mango, young tamarind (fruit and/or leaves) and even with lubeg fruit. But for me, the best alsem to cure a paksiw a saluyot is the famous suka iloko (sugar cane vinegar) right from the Ilocos.

Here, I made another tinimtiman a saluyot, soured with sugarcane vinegar, and this time, I added a grilled buntiek (small mudfish; also called attasi, and if larger, it's burikaw or just the generic name dalag) to add more flavor for an absolutely gorgeous and delicious pinakbet a saluyot.

Just take a look at it, how amazing this beloved Ilokano dish has become:

These are the blessed buntieks that I grilled. One of them luckily mingled and blended with my pinakbet a saluyot:

Here are just photographs of the heavenly dish I painstakingly created, enough perhaps to titillate your palate. But surely, you folks want to know how it came to be like this, one of the most delicious thing that I happen to cook, from the plainest of all, the lowly saluyot, now made a kind of exotic gourmet dish with that grilled buntiek atop it, basking in its all glorious deliciousness.

I just spiced it with lots of garlic, onions, ginger and of course, bugguong and suka iloko. I let the concoction boil quickly and simmer before adding the saluyot. I also added here leaves and stalks of young sweet onions. I didn't add water, I just let the bugguong and vinegar and the natural moistness of the saluyot leaves form and concoct a wonderful broth. I cooked it in low fire, slowly, so it will not burn underneath (maksetan).

I cooked the saluyot until all is wilted and a kind of slippery, and then I added the natuno a buntiek and let the broth simmer and thicken until almost dry. I made sure there is a broth left to flavor the tinimtiman and the steamed rice thereafter.




solsona gameng festival 2015's exotic food feast

Solsona town in Ilocos Norte has just celebrated its annual Gameng Festival (gameng is treasure) that showcased among other products native food and delicacies which can be labeled kind of "exotic" because of their rarity and/or uniqueness in that particular Ilokano town.

We featured it here in Pinakbet Republic the other year and it's one of the most visited blog. This year, Ilokano journalist and writer Leilanie Adriano has graciously provided us again some mouth-watering photographs of the Ilokano food and dishes exhibited.


Nalingta a native a paltat.

Silalalat a naadobo a tukak.

Naigisa/naikirog a tukak.

Nalingta a bukto.

Naigisa nga itlog ti abuos.

Nadengdeng a bisukol.

Nakilnat/ensalada nga aba.

Ginettaan nga aba.

Napaksiw a daludal (sagibsib) ti aba.

Nakalderata a pato.

Ensalada a pako.

Nadengdeng nga agurong.

Naadobo a tukling.




pinapaitan a kamanokan, "native" chicken bitter soup

To continue on our kamanokan series on native free range chicken Ilokano dishes (lauya, dinardaraan, adobo), we'll conclude here with yet another kind of "exotic" dish that delights most Ilokanos: it's pinapaitan a manok! This is a rather unusual chicken soup and I bet some may frown at the idea or are not aware that, of course, your favorite tasty kamanokan can also have its own pinapaitan; not just the usual pinapaitan that you know (kalding, baka, nuang).

Pinapaitan a kamanokan.

This is part of the chicken giblet set aside for dinardaraan and pinapaitan: cut batikuleng (gizzard), dalem (liver), puso (heart), bara (lungs), some silet or bagis (intestines), and the "bittering agent" which is the apro (bile).

Here's what we're going to turn into an absolutely delicious pinapaitan. I added some strips of meat and skin. And that's the apro in the little red square bowl:

Sauté it in little cooking oil with lots of bawang, lasona and the laya, season with salt or patis and pepper; stir fry it until it oozes its yellowish own fat and the meat and skin and the rest of the giblet turn brown:

Pour in enough water for your soup, simmer for a few minutes and then add the apro. Don't put in all of the bile though, moderate bitterness by having a taste of the soup. Put in more bile if you prefer a really bitter pinapaitan. Put off fire and serve it hot and steaming. The resulting soup will be like this:

The kamanokan broth will turn more yellow with the apro, more golden, which is just so absolutely gorgeous and insanely delicious bitter soup so tasty and savory:

Optionally, if you're a really pinapaitan connoisseur, you can add more pait into your pinapaitan by adding paria leaves (a tinola with paria leaves or fruit is great as well).


More about kamanokan (native free range chicken):


nadigo a dinardaraan a kamanokan, "native" chicken blood stew/soup

[Warning: Images of chicken giblet/entrails and blood may be disturbing and/or unsavory to some. Please view with discretion.]

We were done with the adobo and the lauya, and here with the specially set aside ingredients from the kamanokan we butchered, we're going to cook another authentic and unique Ilokano dish made out of a kamanokan: dinardaraan!

A chicken dinardaraan is not a common dish in that mostly, a chicken is usually intended to be cooked into a tinola or lauya, adobo, grilled/barbecued, or with curry or coconut milk. And for Ilokanos, the chicken blood is a delicious add-on in a lauya, coagulated with glutinous rice, it enhances the flavor of the broth. And the more usual way to prepare a chicken dinardaraan (also called sapsapuriket) is to cook it dry, not soupy, with lots of chili and garlic and black peppers, hot and spicy, intended as a special pulotan.

But here, I am about to cook a nadigo (soupy) a dinadaraan, simply because I just want to enjoy its savory soup, and so that I have a plenty of dinardaraan to enjoy (a dry dinardaraan with  the giblet of only one chicken is just a handful but having it as a soup is filling enough).
Nadigo a dinardaraan a kamanokan.

This is chicken giblet I prepared for the dinardaraan: batikuleng (gizzard), dalem (liver), puso (heart), bara (lungs), some silet or bagis (intestines). I also included the chicken's ukel-ukel (testicles, this is a kawitan, a rooster) to add more "nanam" to the dish:

And of course, the dara (blood). I added a little vinegar into it to prevent coagulation and for an added bit of sourness later into the dinardaraan:

Cut the giblet into small pieces; set aside the apro and the ukel-ukel. Prepare the laya, lasona and bawang:

And here, it's ready...

Sauté the bawang, lasona and the laya until brown/caramelized:

Add the cut chicken giblet and stir fry it quickly in high heat. Add salt or patis (or bugguong if you prefer) to taste (and optionally, umami or those ginisa flavoring mixes). Add cracked black peppers, too, of course:

Don't overcook the chicken, taste it to see if it's partially done. Pour in the blood at this juncture:

Stir fry it and mix the blood evenly:

Add some water and simmer. Add some little vinegar if you prefer a sour soup. In this particular dinardaraan, it's somewhat sour because of the vinegar I added into the blood to prevent coagulation:

And it's done. And oh, by the way, I added sili nga aruy-oy (capsicum annuum, siling haba, finger chili) to make this dinardaraan a traditional one with sili:

The soup is so delicious, specially so when I mashed the boiled chicken testicles into the broth it resembled the tasty and sensuous "soup no. 5" (bull's penis and testicle soup):

Spice it more with chili powder or cayenne pepper or with chili fermented in vinegar for that amazing kick!


More about kamanokan:


classic dinengdeng: rabong & saluyot

This is yet another rabong (bamboo shoot) cooking escapade, a continuation from previous various rabong dishes I've made out of a big rabong I prepared and pre-boiled. We've got rabong salad and sautéed rabong, and now we have this--the most ubiquitous and most popular of all Ilokano rabong dishes:

Yeah, right, the famous dinengdeng duo: rabong & saluyot. It came to pass that in the Ilocoslovakia, a rabong can't go alone as a dinengdeng without saluyot (although, a solo saluyot inabraw can be tolerated at least). A solo rabong dinengdeng is kind of bland and miserable without its most trusted and most preferred partner.

And here's it, a two-some--sliced and cooked rabong ready and freshly picked saluyot leaves:

I just boiled some bugguong with some onion slices in it, and then I put in the rabong, simmered it for a few minutes and then I put in the saluyot, simmered until it's done:

This for me is the most delicious saluyot & rabong dinengdeng--simply just the two of them and no sagpaw or add-on of whatever fish grilled, broiled, fried or smoked. The classic Ilokano dish in all its essential goodness:

What more could you ask for? This simply is luxury, frugal but glorious:

But of course, rabong sometimes can live, too, without its beloved saluyot. I also tried partnering it with other leafy greens and veggies and it's equally sumptuous and phenomenal. Here, in a lovely variation, I used bulong ti sili, kalunay and utong fruit, and yes, I added a fried galunggong: