3/07/2013

kalalaki nga alukon, "male" alukon

Dinengdeng a kalalaki nga alukon with patani, kardis and pallang.
Not many folks, even those so-called patneng nga Ilokanos (true-blue Ilokanos) know or are aware that the fruit (or is it flower?) of the kalalaki nga alukon (male alukon [allaeanthus glaber, himbabao] tree) is edible or as sumptous as the commonly consumed slender and longish flowerette sabong ti alukon. Maybe because kalalaki nga alukon trees are rare. In fact, I only know of it because we have once a kalalaki tree right in our backyard in Mabasa, Dupax del Norte, Nueva Vizcaya, my native place. As a child, we used to climb up the tree and gather (or cut branches with) flower/fruit and shoots of this unique alukon and my mother make it into a delectable dinengdeng with patani, kardis, or young utong pods/beans and with pallang or parda, sometimes with paria fruit and occassionally with ubog ti barit (bud/heartof a wild smaller variety of rattan). I relished it as a child and until my bachelorhood. When I came to Cagayan, I didn't see any tree, much more of it being sold in the local tiendaans.

And imagine my amazement and joy when I saw these beautiful kalalaki nga alukon "balls" (yes, it resembles the human male testicle, complete with hairs--of which I presume is one reason why it was called "lalaki") sold by an old woman in the merkado publiko in Gonzaga, Cagayan--I immediately bought two liter-fulls, while my companions at that time keep on exclaiming wonder and utter disbelief ("nah, masida gayam ti kasta?" "diak man ammo a mabalin a sidaen dayta, nagadu kasta 'diay ayanmi!" "ania ngay ramanna daytan, kasla met ukel-ukel, ne, adda pay urmotna, wahaha!"):

A close up of the miniature "balls" (click on the photos for a larger view):

I eagerly, and painstakingly, prepared my first kalalaki nga alukon dinengdeng in Cagayan. I was in luck that day because I also chanced upon some gorgeous ubog ti way ( rattan bud/heart) in the same market, which is a perfect pair to alukon (paria, especially the "native" ones is also good; I prefer bitter veggies for my alukon dinengdengs). I also bought some patani:

And here's it, my dinengdeng a kalalaki nga alukon with ubog ti way and patani, with dried shrimps (kuros, aramang)--it overloaded my carbo intake that day, because I consumed a lot of rice with it:

The next day, I cooked the remaining balls with patani, kardis and pallang, and with kuros, of course, my way of reminiscing and re-living and relieving my childhood in Nueva Vizcaya, and an act of giving kudos to the dinengdeng expertise of my mother, her basic cooking skills (mostly on dinengdengs and barely with meats [on rare occassions when we have tinola a manok for dinner, or a pinapaitan for lunch in rare occourences where some carabaos are butchered to be mauraga or loaned in exchange for palay when harvest comes], because that was our life then in the barrio, a farming community. living simply and contented with our own backyard produce) which I terribly miss, and of which I shamelessly claim to have "inherited":




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1 comments:

  1. Very good piece to read esp. for people who had similar experience in life.

    Ernesto.

    ReplyDelete