Sunday, 18 September 2011

Cooking Close to Home with Inabraw or Dinengdeng

My husband loves to cook dinengdeng or inabraw. And I’d say I love his inabraw.  I call it a detoxifying dish, a welcome “break” from our usual meat, fish, oily, high-calorie, Filipino and non-Filipino dishes that we use to have for dinners.  I can’t say, a break from salty food since dinengdeng / inabraw is very very very salty and high in sodium.  It’s different from vegetable salads as this one is really filling.

Dinengdeng or inabraw is one of those famous delicacies from the Northern Luzon.  This is not only an Ilocano dish because, the Igorots, Kalingas, Ibanags, itawis and other minorities from the northen part of Luzon cook dinengdeng or dinengdeng as part of their daily meal.  It’s an easy dish to cook, it’s just a matter of boiling mixed vegetables (bitter gourd, eggplant, leafy veggies, legumes, rootcrops, etc) of your choice in water with bagoong (fermented fish : which is an Ilocano exotic delicacy)  For Frederick,  He uses any available “Ilocano” vegetable  that we can find in the supermarket:  talong (eggplant), okra (ladyfinger), ampalaya (bitter gourd), malunggay leaves and/or fruit (moringa), patola (luffa), sigarilyas (winged bean), kamote (sweet potato), alugbati (vine spinach), talbos ng kamote (sweet potato leaves), sometimes kangkong leaves (water spinach), but we always look fo saluyot (jute) but it's nowhere to be found in Singapore, and other vegetables that are available.  He sometimes add clams, cockles, or fried/grilled fishes.  Though traditionally, bagoong is used to flavor inabraw, my husband usually add patis (fish sauce) instead because I have allergic reaction to it and one thing more, bagoong is expensive and most of the time, not available in Singapore.  Frederick’s inabraw is still delicious as the traditional ones.

Having dinengdeng or inabraw for dinner is like being close to home.  By the way, foreigners might consider this exotic because of the ingredients used specially the bagoong.  Not all would appreciate the taste of bagoong.  Similar to other cultures’ traditional food, like the curry of the Indians, the Malays chili dishes, etc.,  bagoong is and acquired taste, therefore eating dinengdeng or inabraw is an acquired thing.

This is my husband’s version of dinengdend / inabraw which is different from my mama’s, as his is too soupy and my mama’s is almost dry.





Other vegetables available or of your choice




Fish Sauce

Cooking Procedure:

1)     Boil water with the ginger, onion, and garlic.

2)     Add the vegetables that are hard to cook first like legumes or root crops first.  He boiled the sweet potato first.

3)     He also cooks the eggplant ahead of the other ingredients since I wanted an overcooked, mushy eggplant. Cook for a minute then add the rest of the vegetables excluding the leafy ones .

4)     If you are adding cockles/ clams add it along with the vegetables.

5)     Season with the fish sauce.  Boil until the vegetables are cooked.

If you opt for bagoong which is the traditional seasoning for inabraw not to mention that it gives a better flavor to it,  use the bagoong sauce plus the fermented fish.  Add a small amount of boiled water to the bagoong sauce with the fermented fish, mash the fish thoroughly then pour it on the inabraw mixture.  make sure that you strain it so that the fish bones will not be added to the inabraw soup.

5)     Add the leafy vegetables along with the grilled / fried fish or shrimp.  Boil for a minute then turn of the fire.

Mangan tayon :-)



  1. you can tell frederick to lessen the patis so it's not VERY VERY VERY SALTY hehehe!tattak na naammuan nga adda dinengdeng nga medyo dry?i'm used to soupy dinengdeng. i enjoy reading your blog.happy cooking! :)

  2. hahaha I always remind him. naapgad timpla na ket saan mamati. Yup there are dry and soupy dinengdeng. might want to try the dry one. Thanks for reading :-)

  3. [...] Anyway, if you are not familiar about dinengdeng nor pinakbet, please check my earlier posts on these for some background information (My Mama’s Pinakbet and Cooking Close to Home with Inabraw or Dinengdeng) [...]