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...


pinakbet with kaggo

Pinakbet nga addaan kaggo.
Yet another kaggo dish. And now with the ubiquitous but venerable pinakbet. Instead of the usual meat such as pork with thick fat or that quintessential bagnet (also called chicharon, deeply fried pork shanks), or fish grilled or fried or dried, let's try some shellfish. And kaggo, being a large clam with a promising "meat" is one suitable consideration for a sagpaw.

These are really humongous clams, you bet: 

Open the shells of the live kaggo and shuck the meat out, save the tasty “digo” for the pinakbet:

Cook the pinakbet as it is, instead of water, use the kaggo’s “broth” to dilute the bugguong, for a truly kaggo-flavored pinakbet. Put in the kaggo meat when all the veggies are about to be done, simmer for a few minutes, don’t overcook the kaggo so that it stays tender and succulent:

In this pinakbet, besides tarong, paria, sili, okra and kamatis, I added bagas ti kamote (sweet potato) to thicken and sweeten the pakbet:

This pinakbet is unique in that it has the tastiness and kaggo-ness of the popular brackish water clam. The flavor is enhanced by the sweetness of the camote, a more Ilokano, and therefore more original taste, that is distinct from that Tagalog pinakbet variation which is soupy and infused with karabasa (squash). An original Ilokano pinakbet has no karabasa in it. If it’s needed to be sweetened, starchy tubers such as camote or taro (like rabok) or some yams (like balinghoy, tugi, ubi, kamangeg) are added.

Come, let's eat, share with me this Ilokano gastronomic bliss:



kaggo & karibuyo

Kaggo & karibuyo soup.
Kaggo is a big clam found in brackish and muddy waters in Cagayan, where rivers or swamps meet with the sea or sea water, usually under or along nipa trees. Also called kappo in other places, it is the same as the lukan of the Tagalogs. But they're more abundant and popular on the notherrn Cagayan towns along the coast, like Sanchez Mira, Pamplona, Abulug, Ballesteros, Aparri, Buguey and Sta. Teresita. Karibuyo is a sea clam gathered along the seashore of same coastal towns including Claveria, Gonzaga and Sta. Ana.

Kaggo can be made into a savory soup or stew, boiled/blanched, grilled, or simply into a kilawen or eaten raw right from the shell dipped in calamansi juice just like that of oysters. Its meat shucked, it's perfect as a sagpaw (add-on) to your dinengdeng or pinakbet or as a topping in pancit dishes like bijon or canton or other seafood dishes.

Karibuyo is so good as a soup, its broth is so tasty with the karibuyo's great juicy meat. It can also be consumed raw, the meat and "juice" mildly salty like that of gakka (tiny sea clams consumed as a saramsam or snacks just like watermelon seeds) shells.

Karibuyo for sale at the municipal fish port in Sta. Teresita, Cagayan.

Kaggo being grilled.

Shucked grilled kaggo in Villa, Sta. Teresita, Cagayan.

Slightly boiled kaggo, ready to be shucked for my kaggo "salad." If you prefer to boil kaggo, don't overcook it to retain the "fatness" and succulence of the meat. Just boil it mildly just so its shells crack slightly for you to break it open. Save its naturally salty "juice" as a broth.

Slightly boiled kaggo meat with its own juice as a little broth. I seasoned it with some salt, garnished with onions and ginger, and soured it with calamansi.

The karibuyo, I made into a kind of tinola. I sauteed onions, garlic, ginger and tomatoes in little oil, and boiled it with some pieces of chayote, and then the karibuyo shells. Don't overcook the karibuyo. Just put it in when the broth is boiling. Simmer quickly and put off fire immediately and serve hot when the shells are open.

Enjoy tinola a karibuyo. The soup is so good, the meat is just so tasty.

I reserved some of the kaggo "salad" and tinola a karibuyo for what a "lethal" ("pamatay" he-he!) dish that I'm planning for the next day. And here's it, I made it into a combo kaggo and karibuyo soup: I mixed all the meat of the shells and their soup/broth and made it into one great clam soup with petchay (I just browned/caramelized some garlic and onions, poured the soup and boiled it and then I put in the petchay stalks and leaves, and then the kaggo & karibuyo meat):

What a bliss!