Sunday, 28 October 2012

Binongor: A Milder Version

This is my Mammy's take on the famous Binongor of the Kalingas.  It's milder compared to the Kalinga's version.  Milder meaning it is not as fiery hot as those cooked by the native Kalinga's as she only puts a few as in 2 pieces only of siling labuyo (bird's eye chili).  For the Kalingas they put at least 2 chupas of Siling labuyo. Do you know how "much" siling labuyo that is? More than 3 cups full!  Who has the nerve and the guts to eat such taste-bud scorching, stomach-acid triggering, and hemorrhoid-swelling fiery hotness?  I and the rest of my family don't and couldn't take that (cough, cough)

What is Binongor I haven't tasted the real one actually, I mean, I haven't tasted and seen a binongor that was cooked by a Kalinga with the 3 cups full of siling labuyo and all.   First of all, Kalinga are what we call the natives who are the first settlers in our province.  They are beautiful people with skin colors ranging from dark-brown, brown, and fair.  They have sharp features with aquiline noses.  AND they love to eat fiery hot dishes.  Binongor is one of their specialties.  

Binongor is almost similar to the Ilocanos dinengdeng as it uses bagoong as seasoning.  It consist of backyard vegetables, like eggplants, long beans, legumes (kardis, patani, white beans, etc), squash, leafy veggies (any as you wish), bamboo shoots, mushrooms (tengang daga, kudkudet, etc.), etc.  Fresh water mussels and shells are added like the agurong. leddeg, or bisukol.  Innards of chickens, pigs, cows, or wild animals are also included to make the dish even more flavorful.  And the most important ingredient is the siling labuyo (bird's eye chili).  Not just that.  The amount of siling labuyo matters.  And we are not just talking about putting 5 nor 10 pieces of this red-very-hot-chili pepper but more than 3 cups full (evil grin)

In Mammy's recipe, she used agurong and added no meat at all. Agurong, if you haven't heard of it, is a fresh water shell that is spiral in shape and usually comes in black or dark brown color.  I don't know how these things are called in Tagalog or other dialects.  These are commonly harvested from creeks and rivers.   The tips or the tail-end of the agurong had to be removed before cooking.  You might be wondering what an agurong looks like.  Here it is:

live agurong crawling out of the container

Mammy's binongor, though it may not be called as such by the Kalingas, is delicious as it is but I want to try the "real" binongor.  Can anyone make one for me please!!!

The amount of vegetable  to add depends on how much is available on hand.  There is no strict rule when it comes to cooking vegetable dishes the Ilocano or Kalinga or Cordilleran way



Agurong (fresh water shell)
Squash, diced
Banana Blossom
Bamboo Shoot
French Beans
Saluyot (jute leaves)
Ginger - 1 thumbsize
Red onions, diced - 1 medium

Ripe Tomatoes - 2 large

Bagoong Patis
Bagoong Sauce - 1 tbsp 
Siling Labuyo (bird's eye chili)

Water - 2 cups

Mammy usually uses a small amount of bagoong sauce only when she cooks dinengdeng.  Most of the time she uses the bagoong patis.  Mammy is Ilocano but we are a family of so many allergies and we kind of develop an allergic reaction to bagoong sauce of any kind when we use too much of it :-(  You can use bagoong sauce in your dish as much as you want

Cooking Procedure:

1. Place the agurong in a container with water and leave it there overnight.  Let them poop first :-)
2. Boil the banana blossom and bamboo shoot together.  Drain and squeeze the vegetables to remove any unwanted bitterness.   Set aside.
3.  Place the water, bagoong sauce, bagoong patis, tomatoes, ginger, onion , and saluyot in a pot and bring to a boil. 
4. Add in the agurong and let it simmer.
4.  Add the rest of the ingredients and cook until the vegetables are done.
5.  Add the siling labuyo and let it simmer for a minute longer

Serve and savor the goodness of Kalinga cuisine :-)

© Fresha-licious (28October2012)

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