Foraging for u-ong, a kind of oyster mushrooms that thrive in the woods, is yielding during the wet season. They make inabraw or dinengdeng fabulously delicious. However, u-ong can be so expensive at the market. They could hit as high as 600Php per kilo. Foraging yourself can save you a lot of money. Early morning is the best time to gather these fungi. The edible kind should smell pleasantly earthy. Avoid those with ringed stems.
Below are two ways to enjoy mushrooms Ilocano style. Always clean mushrooms thoroughly before cooking. You can soak them in water first to loosen soil and then rinse under running water.
1. Mushroom Dinengdeng
What you’ll need: mushroom shreds, Ilocos bagoong (fish paste) and vegetables such as kabatiti (patola), squash flowers or marrungay (moringa) leaves. Kabatiti slices were used in the photo. How-to: Bring to boil desired amount of water. Add a little bagoong and allow to simmer for a few minutes. Throw in mushrooms and bring to boil. Add vegetables and let simmer until limp. Be careful not to overcook vegetables.
2. Mushroom Adobo
What you’ll need: Mushrooms, a tablespoon of vinegar, half a tablespoon of soy sauce, crushed garlic clove, whole peppercorns and sugar and salt to taste. How-to: Just follow the basic adobo recipe if you’re familiar with it. Combine all ingredients in a pan, bring to boil, lower heat and simmer until liquid thickens.
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