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...


kappukan nga addaan silet, raw beef with tripes

Kappukan nga addaan silsilet.
Kappukan (also called ata-ata), raw beef tender loin meat, is usually prepared as is, meat only, uncooked of course, freshly sweet and incredibly delicious, with only salt and onions, and chili.

Or with a blanched pespes (pinespes, also called papait) or fresh bile added and diluted for bitter-loving Ilokano folks, and in some preparation, bits of liblibro and tualtualia (beef tripes, or the black insides of the large intestines that resembles “pages of a book,” and “towel”, hence the name), and raw beef liver.

Or with silet (isaw, the small intestines, technically also tripe), cooked rare or medium rare (blanched or slightly boiled).

The meat and offal for beef kappukan can be obtained right in the slaughter house, to assure you of its freshness, from newly butchered cows. Here, this is the municipal slaughter house of Sanchez Mira, Cagayan:

There’s the liblibro at the bottom, left:

These are pespes ready in cellophane sachets, to be paired with every purchase of meat and offal for pinapaitan, imbaliktad, or kappukan:

And here’s the beef for kappukan—the meat, the liblibro, the tualtualia, and the silet:

Cutting up, mincing up. The silet is slightly boiled to tenderize it a bit and remove its raw smell. The liblibro and tualtualia are to be raw, okey, scald it quickly, but don’t boil it:

Mix the kappukan thoroughly, season with salt and pepper and toss it with sliced red onions and minced chili (optional). Boil the pespes and let it cool first before adding to the mixture. Don’t put in vinegar or even calamansi, as the sourness will “cook” the meat, this is supposed to be kappukan or ata-ata so it should be raw and fresh meat. You can opt to have vinegar with fermented chili if you want to and just dip the kappukan in it.

Enjoy it with your favorite drink!

Here are more recent kappukans I'm opportuned to have partaken with buddies:
Preparing kappukan a nuang (carabeef). Note the liblibro and tualtualia.

Kappukan a nuang.

Another carabeef kappukan, papait to the extreme.

Kappukan a baka.

Another beef kappukan. Note the raw liver.

Kappukan a baka.

Pure beef meat kappukan, no tripes.



ginisa a rabong, sautéed bamboo shoot

Ginisa a rabong.
To continue my rabong cooking escapade,from the huge shoot that I prepared and boiled as base for lotsa more dishes, here’s one universal rabong favorite: ginisa a rabong, bamboo shoot sautéed in cooking oil with lots of garlic, onions, and (for me, lotsa) ginger. This is simple basic dish but like the rabong salad, it’s a certified appetizer with all the goodness of rabong’s flavor enhanced by its spices.

Note that ginisa a rabong is distinct (as far as I’m concerned, anyway) from that of adobo a rabong. The adobo version, although sautéed the same, has, of course, soy sauce, and vinegar. Ginisa a rabong is not laced with soy sauce but with salt only, or patis, or even bugguong. And my preferred ginisa a rabong has no vinegar because I don’t want it sour. If I want a soured rabong, I’ll make it instead into an achara (pickled bamboo shoot).

Here’s the precooked rabong being sautéed in cooking oil in lots of crushed garlic, sliced onions and crushed ginger. I add more ginger because I wanted the spicy zing of the ginger, I used native small ginger here because it’s spicier:

Add some salt or patis and keep on stirring the ginisa for the flavor and aroma to blend well with the rabong. I add some powdered pepper (cracked one is better, though) just before putting off fire. I also add a pinch of sugar just to resemble the sweetness of a ginettaan a rabong. Just a little sugar to sweeten it a bit (this is optional, others might not want a sweetish ginisa a rabong, but for me I want it sweet than being sour [vinegar added]):

And here’s it, my hot, spicy and sweet ginisa a rabong, bring in your newly steamed rice, and let’s partake this bamboo delight:



ensalada a rabong, bamboo shoot salad

Rabong salad, with bugguong and onions.
Rabong, bamboo shoot, is a versatile veggie dish in that it can be turned into various dishes, and foremost of it, Ilokano-wise, is the famous dinengdeng duo: rabong ken saluyot. The tender bamboo bud can be made into an adobo a rabong, ginisa a rabong, achara a rabong, ginettaan a rabong, can even be a veggie ingredient in soups like sinigang and lauya. And many more.

I found this huge rabong in the public market in Claveria, Cagayan. I forgot to take a photo of the towering shoot before I peeled off its “bark” but this is it when I cleaned it and ready to be cut for cooking:

This is how I simply prepare rabong, no fancy chopping or mincing, I just chop-chop-chop atop it vertically and slice it off into uneven sticks or strips. Rabong fine cutters there might frown at me with their elaborate cuts. But this is what I learned as a child when we hunt down rabong in thick and thorny bamboo thickets and prepare it this way quickly for the day’s lunch or dinner of dinengdeng or ginisa a rabong:

I just chop and chop it out and slice and slice it off, the bud getting smaller and smaller:

And it’s done:

Now, the boiling. Rabong should be boiled first to get rid of its bittery taste. Although some rabong variety are mildly bitter and sweetish and can be cooked straight into a delicious dish without boiling. Some prefer a more bittery rabong, by the way. The rabong of the bayog and kiling variety of bamboo is somewhat more bitter. This one I boiled it just for a few minutes, it’s not the more bittery variety, of which I most prefer for my my different dishes later:

The boiled rabong. It turns yellowish when cooked. Squeeze and rinse. I do not squeeze much my rabong, though. You might be discarding some important essence, nutrients and all that, if you squeeze much of its natural succulence just to get rid of its bitterness completely, and it will become a bland rabong:

Now, the rabong, preboiled, is ready for your dish of choice:

What I initially prepared, for a quick fix, is the easiest and simpliest one—
rabong salad, ensalada a rabong:

This is my favorite rabong dish, in that I say it’s the tastiest one you can have out of a freshly cut and cooked rabong. You can be assured that you’ll get all the rabongness that there’s to it. I just simply dress the boiled rabong with bugguong, sliced onions, some umami (MSG; if you prefer), some calamansi squeezes (or even some drops of can vinegar, if you prefer), toss it, and it’s done:

This goes so well with steaming rice, fried rice, kilabban. I usually mix in a teaspoon of cooking oil on my rice (newly concocted coconut oil or nasinglag a lana ti niog, is perfect for this) whenever I have a rabong salad like this and it’s a kind of guilty pleasure because I unsconciously consume a lot rice. As an option, if you have olive oil, you can drench some drops of it right on the rabong salad, for that real salad kick:

Next: other dishes I prepared out of this huge rabong. Padaanan!



dinengdeng a bunga ti singkamas, jicama fruit stew

Buridibod a bunga ti singkamas, pallang, ken tugi.
Been years, decades even, since the last time that I’ve got the opportunity to enjoy dinengdeng a singkamas, yes, singkamas, jicama, but I’m not talking about its delicious root, but of the fruit. Specifically the fruit or the young pod of singkamas vine growing wild and abundant, climbing up shrubs and trees in Casantolan, my place of birth, in Nueva Vizcaya.

Unfortunately, I didn’t see any jicama fruit in the local markets I’ve been to on my market forays here in Cagayan. I was wondering why, perhaps Cagayanos didn’t like, or maybe even didn’t know that singkamas fruit is edible and perfect for dinengdeng and pinakbet?

In Casantolan, we usually cook singkamas fruit as a dinengdeng soured with young salamagi (tamarind) fruit. The sourness maintains the crispness and texture of the singkamas pod and neutralizes its mild bittery taste. It’s good as a solo dinengdeng. Or with saluyot. Or with pallang and sabunganay and patani or with alukon. It’s also a perfect companion for that sweet buridibod. It also goes so well with pinakbet.

My quest for singkamas fruit here in Cagayan was finally over when I saw this singkamas vine on a wall of a certain house right in the center of the town no less, in Allacapan:

How so lovely, the pods are:

And I was so lucky that day, indeed, for when we stopped over at the talipapas along the highway in Nassiping, Gattaran, I saw this, behold, the elusive vegetable fruit of my childhood is right there before my still unbelieving eyes:

I dreamt of a sinalamagian (tamarind-soured) dinengdeng a bunga ti singkamas, but then I can’t find salamagi amongst the goods being sold. I instead saw this bunch of tugi (lesser yam):

The tugi will make a good buridibud with singkamas. I also bought some pallang. And here’s my bounty for the day:

Gorgeous pods, aren’t they?

Singkamas fruit has tiny brownish hairs on its skin, this is itchy to the skin and may cause an allergy of sort, so be careful handling the pods:

Small “native” pallangs, which is just the right partner of the singkamas fruit:

Here, wash and rinse the singkamas pods thoroughly and repeatedly to discard the itch-causing hair:

When it’s immaculately cleaned, cut the “starts” and “end” and then break open the pods in twos:

Do the same with the pallang:

“Skin” the tugi and cut it:

The trio is ready:

Cook the tugi first with the boiling water diluted with bugguong and with some slices of onion. When the yam is cooked, put in the singkamas and pallang. Get to a quick boil. Do not overcook the veggies, it should be crisp, green, but tender:

Heres’s the buridibod, it’s so insanely delicious though it’s just a simple basic dinengdeng/buridibod  (I didn’t add any sagpaw;  though, if it’s available, it will be great with grilled fish like tilapia, bangus, dalag or paltat, or with dried fish and shrimp, or with smoked fish, or even with grilled chicken). I mashed some tugi cubes into the little soup for a thicker and sweeter broth:

I really relished this dinengdeng, eating with so much gusto while reminiscing my childhood days in Casantolan…