Dinengdeng or inabraw is Filipino dish indigenous to the Ilocos region. For me this dish is like a free style vegetable soup dish where you are free to place any exotic vegetables you wish to use some of the most popular ones are bamboo shoots, okra, string beans jute leaves, moringa, bitter melon leaves, alakon blossoms, amaranth leaves and banana blossoms to name some. I lived for quite some time in Baguio where this dish is popular and I never saw this cooked the same way across different eateries and even households, the only similarity among them is the soup base where it is flavoured by bagoong monamon and fried/grilled fish.
Usually this dish is consumed with rice and meat dishes which have high fat content such as sisig, adobo and lechon as its acts as a balancer for unhealthy dishes. Filipinos have this funny belief that when you mix something bad with something good it will balance it out, that’s why we put a lot of garlic in our fried dishes because they say garlic is good for the heart, same goes with grilled fatty meats and offal where it is accompanied with lots of vinegar to melt all the fats away. How about you do you have some funny beliefs with regards to eating food? I know some of the Chinese have as my friend told me why they drink hot tea always after yam cha.
1 cup bamboo shoots, sliced (1 used the vacuum packed ones)
1 cup saluyot (jute leaves)
1 pack spinach leaves or any leafy vegetables
1 bunch string beans, sliced
10 pcs okra, sliced in half
2 tbsp bagoong monamon or ground anchovies in oil
1 red onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups rice wash
fish sauce or sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
Note: if you find bamboo shoots to be smelly boil it for multiple times at 5 minutes each to get rid of the smell.
- In a pot add oil then sauté garlic and onions.
- Dilute bagoong in rice wash water then pour into a strainer or muslin cloth over to the pot, press to extract all liquid. Bring to a boil.
- Add bamboo shoots then simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add okra and string beans then cook for 3 minutes.
- Add spinach and jute leaves and season with fish sauce and pepper then simmer for additional 2 minutes.
- Place vegetables on a bowl then top it with fried fish then serve. You can optionally add the fried fish on step 4 to make the soup richer but I prefer a crispy fried fish on the top.