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...


laklako iti ig-igid, public markets/roadside vendors (5)

More market and "marketing" escapades, to continue our series on tiendaan/palengke/merkado/talipapa (local or public markets)...

Just a sort of trivia: do you know that here in Cagayan, most particularly in Tuguegarao City, the local or municipal public markets are called "plaza" by the folks? If you hear someone say "intayo maki-plaza" or "innak 'diay plaza" ("let's/I'll go [to the] plaza"), he/she means going to the public market and not to a certain park or town center which is usually called the plaza by the locals (in Nueva Vizcaya, we also call as plaza the multi-purpose concrete pavement at the center of the barrio or purok used as a basketball court, dancing hall during fiestas, palay-drying area, etc. But in Cagayan, the markets or palengkes are called "plaza" and when you go "makitienda" say "maki-plaza" instead. I was thinking then that perhaps folks here are used going to Farmer's Plaza in Cubao, or in Harrison Plaza in Pasay. To this effect, the spacious "Mall of the Valley" (actually not a mall [well, those useless escalators does not make a so-called "mall", and not even a SaveMore or CD-R King as occupants in a basement make it either] but a ridiculously "extra large" local/public market) in Tuguegarao City should be named "Plaza of the Valley" or simply "Tuguegarao Plaza" instead. Ahem, I'm digressing, sorry.

Mall and malling aside, I love the sidewalks and roadside talipapas more, here are more of it:

Sayote, daludal/sagibsib ti aba, bulong-paria.
Public market, Gonzaga, Cagayan

Various fishes.
Roadside, Currimao, Ilocos Norte.

Ubog ti way ken anibong.
Public market, Gonzaga, Cagayan.

Public market, Sanchez Mira, Cagayan.

Various fishes.
Talipapa along the highway, Tuguegarao City, Cagayan.

Tinuno a pusit ken dumadara.
Along the highway, Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte.

Dalag (attasi) ken tilapia.
Roadside, Ballesteros, Cagayan.

Kulot/ur-urmot ken aragan.
Public market, Gonzaga, Cagayan.

Fish, squid.
Municipal Fist Port, Sta. Teresita, Cagayan.

Kalunay, pako, utong, sili, suso (river snails), patani, rangaw-paria.
Public market, Gonzaga, Cagayan.



ket manen sadiay tiendaan, public markets/roadside vendors (part 4)

A continuation of my series on tiendaan/palengke/merkado/talipapa (local or public markets) [see Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3], this is a long overdue blog post. When given a chance to travel to some places, I always see to it that I visit the market, be it the public or municipal market or the talipapas and roadside stalls, or even simple vendors hawking their goods and produces. I am always fascinated with the local markets especially the wet and veggie sections as I'm fond of scouring for something new, something "exotic" that I may fancy to buy and experiment on preparing and cooking it.

Kalalaki nga alukon.
Public market, Gonzaga, Cagayan.
"Thousand fish" (a.k.a. "million fish), bunog, and native paltat (catfish) and buntiek (mudfish).
Public market, Bambang, Nueva Vizcaya.
Mani (peanut), boiled/dried/raw.
Along the national highway, Sta. Lucia, Ilocos Sur.
Rasa (mudcrabs) and kaggo (brackish water clams).
Along the national highway, Pamplona, Cagayan.
Fish and sea and freshwater shellfish (kappo, bennek, agurong).
Public market, Cabugao, Ilocos Sur. Needless to say, but maybe worth mentioning here, Cabugao's public market prides itself, as painted in its facade, as "Region 1's Cleanest and Healthiest Public Market."
Pinia (pineapple), aba (taro), sabunganay (banana blossoms).
Public market, Gonzaga, Cagayan.
Fresh tirem (oysters).
Along the Mission River, Sta. Teresita, Cagayan.
Various dried fish.
Public market, Gonzaga, Cagayan.
Fish, shrimps, and unusually large gakka (little but tasty sea shellfish sold primarily as a kind of snack). Public market, Sanchez Mira, Cagayan.
Kurita (octopus) and various reef fishes (molmol, etc.).
Public market, Claveria, Cagayan.
Various fishes (sosay [perfect for kilawen!], etc.), kurita.
Public market, Sanchez Mira, Cagayan.
Abuos/buos (red tree ants) eggs/pupae, with those kamatis for a really delicious and exotic abuos eggs sauteed in onions and tomatoes.
Public market, Gonzaga, Cagayan.

[See higher resolution (larger and clearer) version of these photographs.]



"native" chicken adobo

One of my incessant food cravings, whenever I long for my being a "barriotic" or "promdi" is a lunch or supper where in the lowly dulang (literally a low wooden dining table) is set and served a bowl of piping hot soup called tinola or lauya a manok, or a manok adobo. And that the chicken must be, as it should be, a "native" one. Well, the so-called "kamanokan," the free-range almost-wild but domesticated one, of course, the usual poultry "dingo" in the barrios, in the away. As a child in Casantolan, we used to have scores of native chickens, and so, occasionally we have our meaty meals to augment our protein needs as we folks are usually more used to a vegetarian diet then, with the scarcity and expensiveness of meat or fish (or simply because we can't afford it).
Naadobo a netib a manok.

And so, on my recent visit to my place, it's SOP that I have to pamper myself a bit and afford a lauya or adobo, what with the fact that when I saw these creatures (photos below), pardon, I saw them dressed and boiling and steaming and wafting that familiar "native" aroma:

So, here's it, I caught my choice one from the brood and imprisoned the poor creature:

And he's here being slowly made into an adobo (sorry, sorry, poor creature, that I came and hungry I came; as a courtesy to its great sacrificial role, I won't show the butchering photos here anymore):

After about an hour or less of slow wood fire cooking, the meat is tender enough, the soup simmered and thickened into just a little broth that literally cooked the chicken in its own oily essence. This adobo version is simple, it's cooked with only the basic condiment and spices of garlic, onions, ginger, and salt. No vinegar and soy sauce. Some call it "white adobo." But I cooked it this way with a purpose: the rest of it (but of course, we Ilokano rural folks are that frugal, you know, we don't consume such a delicious treat at once but we set aside some pieces for the next meals) will be boiled again later as a lauya or tinola complete with green papayas and young sili leaves, and with more ginger for a zest:

And again with my dented tin plate, I made a labay of chicken and rice:

Care to see my labay, here are some of my choice chicken cuts (click photo to enlarge) -- the ulo (head), the karaykay (feet), bagis (intestines), the luppo (thights) and so on. Missing are the kimmol (tail), payak (wings), tengnged (neck), and the prized ones: the dalem (liver) and the batikuleng (gizzard). Those are rightfully set aside to grace the tinola later:

Ah, the nativity of it all, I shall return again to Casantolan, the real return of the native to his native soil and to his native gluttony of sort. :-)



fresh veggies for dinengdeng in casantolan

After some years of just passing by my home province (Nueva Vizcaya) on my travels to the big city, I finally decided one cold dawn to drop by the national highway in Bambang on my trip back to Cagayan. It's a sudden decision to stop the bus and step down and have my feet touch the familiar earth of my province again, at 4AM, and transact with one of the night-shift tricycle drivers awaiting for passengers at the bend of the road going to Dupax del Norte to bring me to Mabasa and thence to Casantolan, to home, again, perchance to dream...

Yes, i'm always dreaming green when I'm reminiscing about my native place, literally green with the greens of Casantolan. I mean, the nateng, the kanatengan, the vegetables, the veggie patches, of course, of which I always crave, etched in my childhood memory of a farm kid, my mother's lush and verdant gardens of edible and ornamental plants.

So the first thing I did, attack the veggie patches and take advantage of the freshness of the greens, mostly green leafy goodies, here's my modest harvest for the morning, I wanted a dinengdeng of various leaves for breakfast (click on the photos for a larger view):

Saluyots are all around, I'm so over-eager to pick:

There, saluyot, kamotig tops, alukon shoots, kalunay (this one's a big variety of spinach growing wild  all over the yard), some tarongs:

And here, karabasa blossoms to complete my dinengdeng:

Naimurianen ken nabugguan, the veggies are ready:

What I miss more about being a barrio boy ("barriotic") is the way the food is prepared, using simple wares and employing the most basic chores. Here's a unique way to cook dinengdeng -- in a rice kaldero rather than in a tayab or banga. And, to top the experience, cooked upon an improvised iron stove and using binalsig, chopped firewood:

The bugguong is boiled; next, the veggies by layers, with the sabong-karabasa on top. No sagpaws needed, I want a real dinengdeng of just veggies, no dried/fried fish/meat to distract the generosity of the plant kingdom:

After a few minutes (no overcooking, please, I want it kind of "medium rare" to enjoy it pristine and succulent), here's the final dinengdeng:

Here's my labay, my plate, my rice and dinengdeng. I missed much this unique tin plate, complete with a tilbak (dent), of my childhood, so rural and so promdi but it only adds up more memories to enjoy and delight upon while savoring my dinengdeng ala-Casantolan:

What a bliss! This makes me craving for more Casantolan homecoming. I should.