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.