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 ala-casantolan

This is the way we (well, me, actually, and if I say "we", my late mother would be a very special and a most honorable mention here because it was her who influenced me, and virtually taught me, all things about pinakbets, dinengdengs, and anything nateng) cook the great Ilokano signature dish pinakebbet, or more popularly known as pinakbet, (not the non-Ilokano [because grammatically incorrect]  Tagalogized "pakbet") in Casantolan (Nueva Vizcaya), my place of birth and early domicile, and my place of longing to be settled at again, to get back in and to return to, well, soon.

And, this is the way I cook pinakbet whenever I am in Casantolan--what with the ready ingredients available and with the cooking wares and familiar cooking traditions I was used to as a barrio boy (again, all thanks, I owe it to my mother).

On one of my random visit, I came upon these available veggies ready at home, bought at the market in Bambang and some picked right in the backyard garden: paria, tarong, okra, bunga ti singkamas, kamatis. 

I began preparing the veggies. I am happy that I chanced upon this rather rare opportunity to have these smallish native bitter melons and this variety of eggplant which is just so good for this Ilokano signature dish, the small okras, and yes, the jicama fruit.

Of course, the tomatoes. And onion and ginger. The onions are chopped, the ginger is crushed for it to give its maximum zing.

For a while, I remember something that will make my pinakbet more gorgeous and delicious. I went by the shrubberies and climbing vines and gathered some patani (also called "pulomingko") pods. These are a very good companion to an Ilokano pinakbet, I promise!

This is how I cut the tarongs. And here they are in the cooking pot. Level by level. And drenched atop with bugguong "juice". I didn't put any water. The veggies' own juices, and the bugguong's, will suffice. It will "agdanum" later as the kamatis will give all its essence to "pakbet" its veggie friends.  

And yes, this pinakbet has to be pure as in just vegetables and no sagpaws or add-ons of any kind. No meat, no fish. Nothing. Just nateng.

The singkamas will be put on top as it cooks faster. I want it crispier.

And here, I cooked it just the way a good pinakbet should be cooked--using firewood on a DIY iron stove in a makeshift "dirty kitchen" outside the house.

Note that this is the available cooking ware around, I would have slow cooked my pinakbet in an earthen pot if there's any.

And here it is, it's done:

Look at that:

Just take a look and imagine:

Isn't it an absolutely gorgeous pinakbet? Wanna bet?

Yes, this is how we, how I do, in Casantolan, with matters like pinakbet:


And more:

Okey, enough. Let's eat. Here's my labay, come and partake: