Tomorrow is November 1. It's the first time I'd be spending the All souls' and all saints' days here in the Philippines after five long years. Some of our cousins from Solano, Nueva Viscaya including Uncle Jun (Mammy's brother) will be coming here to spend the fiesta ti natay (feast of the dead - literally translated) with us. We'll be having some sort of a mini-reunion as we haven't seen them for years. Red meat are expected to be served and I haven't made up my mind on what to cook. A kakanin maybe and a duck dish. I'll leave the pork dishes to the big boys. Let me think hhhhmmmm
So today, we have to have vegetables for our meals. And so Mammy cooked dinengdeng.
As an Ilocano, I thought that I have eaten or have come across all sorts of vegetables from the rough to the silky-slimy kinds, from the smooth to the hairy ones, not to mention sweet, sour, spicy, pungent, and bitter tasting vegetables. I was still surprised to know that there are still kinds I haven't come to know of. Like the bunga ti singkamas or jicama pods. I thought Mammy was referring to the white tubers that is commonly referred to when we talk about singkamas when she said she's going to cook dinengdeng nga singkamas. I actually wondered how that white juicy thing would taste like when it's cooked and seasoned with bagoong. I was surprised when she brought out these pods and worked on it. I might have eaten this before without me knowing it. I might have liked it or hated it. I'm not sure. But I definitely would say that I do love it when I tasted it. It was crunchy and sweet and it goes really well with the rest of the vegetables in the dinengdeng.
The bunga ti singkamas has to be stringed like most long beans and then split open. This vegetable is definitely a must try. I'm thinking that it might go well too with root crops like taro, kamote, etc. with pork cooked as sinigang or nilaga or chicken perhaps. I hope to get to buy another bundle next market day.
Mammy added rabong (bamboo shoot) and saluyot (jute) leaves. I know, you might have noticed too that most dinengdeng or Ilocano vegetable dishes I've been posting contains saluyot. Because, saluyot is omnipresent specially during this rainy season. It grows anywhere and everywhere where there are patches of soil to be found and we have a lot of saluyot shrubs growing around the house that Mammy doesn't want to get rid off.. It also comes in abundance in the public market. So it's almost always present in Mammy's dinengdeng.
You see, the mix of vegetables in this dinengdeng provided a multi-texture experience that is somewhat nice and funny. It has everything - crunchy, silky-slimy, rough, and smooth. Try it. It's delicious :-)
Click Dinengdeng for more dinengdeng / inabraw recipes
DINENGDENG: SINGKAMAS, SALUYOT, KEN RABONG
Bunga ti Singkamas (jicama pods)
Rabong (bamboo Shoot)
Taro tubers, diced
Onions, diced - 1 medium
Ginger, diced - 1/2 of a thumbsize
Garlic, crushed - 5 cloves
Ripe Tomatoes - 2 medium
Water - 2 c
Fried or grilled tilapia - optional