Buridibod is a typical Ilokano dish. And it's truly a unique Ilokano specialty of concocting what's sweet and sweetish and pulpy to go with a variety of leafy green veggies, or with some vegetable blossoms and fruits, for that beloved dinengdeng or inabraw. Ilokanos love their vegetable soup somewhat sweet or sweety, the magnificent blending of sweetness and the saltiness of the blessed bugguong. A sweety, pulpy soup so bugguongy fragrant and that distinct leafy raw scent that's so perfect for igup (soup to consume exclusively through spoonfuls or usually sipped through the rim of the bowl), and labay (soup to go with rice) as well, to please a not so finicky but just characteristic Ilokano palate.
Any edible root will do with this delicacy. Camote or sweet potato is popular. And so with marunggay leaves, petchay, paria (bitter melon) leaves and tops, kalunay or kuantong (spinach and amaranth), and camote tops itself, and other leafy greens. But it also is known, buridibod still, with other root crops like aba (yam), tugi, buga, kamangeg, ube, balinghoy or kamoteng kahoy (cassava, yuca, or manioc) and others.
Alukon or alokon (allaeanthus glaber) is also a popular ingredient. Either blossoms (flowerettes) or young leaves. But the flower is preferred. The young fruit of the singkamas (or 'kamas, as some folks fondly call) plant (jicama) is also a perfect ingredient, as well as the young fruit of the marunggay tree. I even sagpaw (add in) tarong (eggplant) especially the smaller and younger fruits (called marabusel ones). Or even young parda pods and kardis young/green beans. It's up to your Ilokano instinct/ingenuity to add a variety of available vegetables.
My buridibod here is typically camote, marunggay and alukon. It's alukon season when I made this dish. Instead of the usual alukon and sauteed pinablad a balatong (boiled mung beans) combination, or alukon in a pinakbet, I decided on a buridibod when i spotted these lovely white and purple sweet potatoes and these freshly picked marunggay stalks.
I just love alukon blossoms. These are the kababai (female) blossoms. There are two alukons that I know. The kababai and the kalalaki (male), just like papayas. and mind you, I like the kalalaki nga alukon more. Its flowers (or is its fruit?) are roundish and aptly resembles the human male testicles, complete with pubic hair-like, well, hairs that grew out of the flower/fruit's pores. For me, it's more edible than the kabaian alukon flower. But you can't find male alukon flowers sold in markets, only the kabaian ones. I wonder why. We used to have a kabaian and kalakian alukon trees in our place in Nueva Vizcaya. But the kalakian tree is already cut down for sungrod (firewood).
Anyway, here's how I came with my own version of buridibod: I boiled some water in a pot for the bugguong. I peeled the camotes and cut them into cubes. washed the alukon, and rinsed and segregated the marunggay leaves. After the bugguong is boiled for some time, I put in the camote cubes first and let it cook. Here, you can prefer your buridibod somewhat drier or soft and pulpy. If you want a pulpy buridibod, boil the camotes some more or you can mash it by using a ladle. But mash it not too mushy so that enough broth remain. You have to retain some broth for your souping purposes. When the camotes are cooked, I put in the alukon blossoms, I let it cook for some time and then, just before serving, I put in the marunggay leaves. Do not overcook the marunggay.
Here's the result:
What a heavenly viand to go with your steamed rice!
(Originally posted December 13, 2008)