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...


kilawen a bilis redux, sardine/herring ceviche

Bilis ceviche.

Bilis, the local sardine (or is it really herring?). It's always abundant and whenever it's freshly available, I always buy a kilo or a half for kilawen (as a ceviche). This fish is prized as a kilawen in most parts of the globe, anyway. Perfect as an appetizer, and great for pulutan (to go with drinks).

Freshly caught bilis for sale in Santa Ana, Cagayan.


Kilawen a bilis ready for a sumptous consumption. 
[See previous blog post on how to prepare bilis  kilawen]

Bilis ceviche with its buddies.



more pinakbet... from ilokanos around the web

Pinakbet once more, because we can't just get enough of pinakbet, we always want for more, and more. So here are some from Ilokanos around and on the web. These are various pinakbets but authentic Ilokano pinakbet because these were prepared by Ilokano (except the last photo, which can be conveniently labeled as "pakbet-tagalog" because it has karabasa and bugguong-aramang is used instead of bugguong a lames).


Pinakbet with shrimps, from Hawaii, courtesy of Jonathan Torricer.
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Photo by Twinnie Jap Herasio.
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Pinakbet in San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte. Photo by Derick Yabes.
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Pinakbet in Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte.
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Pinakbet with tinuno a palileng. Photo by Mary Jane Tordil.
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Photo by Maureen Veenstra.
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Photo by Noel Viernes.
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Pakbet-Tagalog, photo by Noel Viernes. 
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bunog/birut/bukto/palileng, mullet/goby fish

Here's more on bunog (in general, called talimusak in Tagalog, variably called birut, bukto, even palileng, or mori, and udingan, ipusan, etc.; it's actually mullet or goby fish.), smallish freshwater/river fish best stewed in lots of tomatoes, onions, garlic, ginger and some vinegar. Or wrapped in banana leaves and steamed/cooked as a tamales. Or dipped in spiced flour and deep fried to a crunchy treat.



sabunganay/susop, banana blossom

SabunganayOr susop (as is called in some areas in the Ilocos region). Banana blossom. It's a preferred vegetable for sinigang (sour soup), dinengdeng (sabunganay with saluyot is just so good, with or without a sagpaw of say grilled bangus or paltat or tilapia) and as well, prepared as sauteed or made into adobo, with lots of onions and some garlic, some cracked pepper, with some vinegar to taste. Or boiled and made as a salad with KBL (kamatis, bugguong, lasona). It even be made into a spicy kilawen. And it can be roasted and prepared as a salad. And as "meat balls", too, as well as an omelette.


labay, plateful, various plates of ilokano dishes

Labay means plate, the plate where you are eating right at the moment, breakfast, lunch or dinner. Or the act of mixing broth or soup of your sida (viand) into you rice. Whatever, here are several instances of my own labays, showcasing various Ilokano dishes I consumed the passed days or months in different places (if my memory won't fail me):
This is lunch time in my residence in Iguig, Cagayan. I've got here boiled balatong with paria leaves, boiled cabbages with sliced tomatoes and bugguong, and fried tilapia.
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Lunch, Iguig, Cagayan. Boiled young tarong with bugguong as a dip.
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Breakfast, Iguig, Cagayan. Steamed camote tops with sliced tomatoes and bugguong, grilled okra, and fried daing.
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Lunch, Tuguegarao City. Baradibod nga ube with alukon and shrimps, pinapaitan a baka, kappukan a baka, and grilled tilapia.
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Dinner, Santa ana, Cagayan. kalkalunay salad, pakbet nga alukon, and bopis.
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Lunch, Currimao, Ilocos Norte. Paksiw a malaga, Ginettaan nga aba (laing), baradibod a bunga ti marunggay, and pork adobo.
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Lunch, Currimao, Ilocos Norte.  Pokpoklo with tomatoes, grilled bangus, and sweet golden watermelon (dessert).
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Lunch, Currimao, Ilocos Norte.  Pinakbet, dinengdeng a rabong ken saluyot, and lechon carajay.
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Breakfast, Tuguegarao City. Nabaraniwan a leddeg, and pinapaitan/sinanglaw a baka.
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Lunch, Gonzaga, Cagayan. Paksiw a malaga, steamed crab, boiled ipon, chicken tinola, pinapaitan a baka, and chopsuey.
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Mealtime in Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte (not mine, photo from Pasuquin Facebook page). Dinengdeng, pinakbet, ginettaan nga aba, seaweed salas, pinakbet a paria, grilled tilapia. 
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.....posted from Bloggeroid


panagburak iti rama, harvesting fish in "portable" fish traps

Rama. Puluan. "Mini" and "portable" fish dwellings/trap in rivers. Made of cut small tree branches or tiny twigs, especially that of the thorny damortis (or kamantiris, lulukisen, camachile) and salamagi (tamarind) trees. Bound and placed on strategic parts of the river. When summer comes, it's the perfect time of the year to harvest the rama. Panagburak-rama. Literally to break open the traps. When the family, friends, especially when a balikbayan folk is home, decide to go for a picnic by the river. It's an special Ilokano occassion during summer, when rivers are shallow or almost dried up and fish, shrimps, crabs in the rama is surely bountiful.

Here's one panagburak iti rama one hot summer at Padsan River in San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte:

The rama area is secured with a net and is cleared of the ramas.
[Click photo for a larger view]


baradibud a tugi, lesser yam vegetable stew

Buridibod a tugi (click photo to enlarge)
Yet another buridibod or root vegetable stew, and this time we'll use tugi (lesser yam, Dioscorea esculenta Lour.). Tugi may not be usually used as a buridibod root ingredient as common as the usual camote or taro or ube. But it's equally good, I always make one when I chance upon some tugi in the local market. Tugi, for some, is only meant to be boiled or magettaan (cooked in coconut milk) and eaten simply as is, for a carbo snack. But for me, it's an indispensable ingredient for yet another hearty veggie Ilokano dish

Tugi (click photo to enlarge).

To go with the tugi for this buridibod, I opted for "native" pallang (winged beans), "native" kalunay (spinach, amaranth), and katuday flower.

Tugi, pallang, kalunay, katuday (click photo to enlarge).

Cook it as you would cook a buridibod, boil the tugi first until tender, and then put in the greens. Do not overcook the veggies. Here I added in some pre-fried shrimps to enhance flavor and aroma.

Tugi baradibod (click photo to enlarge).

The rest of the tugi, of course, I boiled it for merienda. Perfect with black coffee. Or an ice-cold soda, if that's what you're addicted into ;-).

Boiled tugi (click photo to enlarge).



jumping salad

Live "salad" of shrimps literally jumping out.

Holy week. Lent. And yes, if we have to be faithful to our faith, we shun meat this week of the year. Which is just good because it's a healthy thing. So let's have some veggies and fish (like the taburkit [monamon] the other day). Or shrimps. And why not "jumping salad," the live shrimp dish preferred by many Pinoys, especially Ilokanos, specifically for pulotan with drinks. It's summer and it's also a time of picnics, usually on the rivers where some rama or puluan (a sort of fish dwelling made with small tree branches or twigs) are waiting to be "maburak" (harvested) for a bountiful catch of freshwater fish, crabs and shrimps for that sumptuous lunch and drinking session by the river bank.

Freshly-caught shrimps (click photo for a larger view).

The shrimps have to be washed and rinsed thoroughly to remove any dirt (click photo for a larger view).

The secret to a real delicious jumping salad is freshly picked calamansi squeezed right on the jumping shrimps. You may use vinegar to sour your salad, but it's not as palatable and aromatic as calamansi, or lemon for that matter (click photo for a larger view).

Add some salt, cover the shrimps if they keep on jumping out, or just pick them up and dunk it straight in to your eager mouth, heheh (click photo for a larger view).

Add some young onions, spice it with chili if you prefer  (click photo for a larger view).  

Here's it's ready, pick them up and enjoy your meal or your drinks with this really "live" dish (click photo for a larger view).



kilawen a taburkit, raw anchovy ceviche

It's Lenten season and so time for some fish. No meat for the week. Fish be with you, fish be with us! And so why not try a fish kilawen? Like taburkit. Or taburtit. Not really exotic because this is not rare fish. It's always available. It's monamon or dilis. Our local anchovy. But taburkit is a different fish from the same anchovy family. It's smaller and more tender which is just suitable and perfect for kilawen or ceviche. Taburkit is aplenty these times of the year along the northwestern coast of Cagayan (Ballesteros, Abulug, Pamplona, Sanchez Mira, Claveria). It is prized as a kilawen and is more preferred than the other bigger and "hard fish boned" monamon.

Taburkit for sale in the public market of Allacapan, Cagayan.

Because it's smaller and its flesh and bone is more tender and succulent, it can be prepared as is, washed and rinsed thoroughly, you don't have to remove its head and entrails because it's tiny you can eat it all and its entrails provide a mild sweetish bitterness that adds to its tastiness; garnish with lots of sliced onions and diced ginger, some salt, and dress it with calamansi. Add in chili for a more spicy treat.

Perfect for pulotan,if you happen to drink liquor this Holy Week ;-)