100% organic and natural Inabraw aka Dinengdeng

Ever wondered why the thrifty character of an Ilocano is celebrated? One logical explanation is because he eats rehashed fish and grows his own veggies.

You may want to try cooking our yummy soupy inabraw (aka dinendeng). Here’s how:


  • marunggay (moringa) leaves
  • saluyot leaves (Corchurus or mallow-leaves)
  • sabong ti parya (bitter melon flowers)
  • grilled or fried fish
  • 3 tbsps fish paste (bugguong)


  • Bring grilled or fried fish to boil in 3 cups of water.
  • Add bugguong until liquid boils
  • Add vegetables and remove caldero from heat as soon as it boils.

Now you’re ready to serve the Ilocano dish and in fact, an unavoidably ubiquitous dish in Ilocos. Backyard vegetables like marrunggay, parya, saluyot, tabungao, pechay, camatis, kabatiti, pallang, uttong, carabasa, among many others, are 100% organic and cheap, and more often than not, free.

Grilled dalag (mudfish), paltat (catfish), tilapia or galunggung (mackarel) make the tastiest inabraw. Another lovely abraw is a combination of murrunggay, cabatiti (sponge gourd or loofah) slices and sabong ti carabasa (squash flowers).

Ilocos bagoong is all-natural, with monamon fish fermented in salt. The best bugguong is aged in burnay.

You get to hear “Inabraw manen?” as often as you smell the fish paste boiling. The smell can reach as far as one block away — a telltale sign that an Ilocano lives in the neighborhood:)

Note: Cook before serving. Cooled inabraw is so unappetizing.

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2012

Veggie Nice

Fresh Lumpia (Spring Roll)

Another work week coming. Hope you all had a nice Sunday. Remember the Tsinoy-style fresh lumpia (spring roll) recipe I posted here? A friend was able to pull it off. There was just one little error, the hubby mistook parsley for cilantro. Nonetheless, we all enjoyed rolling our own lumpia. Good he didn’t forget the chili bean paste (that red thingy in the photo). Without it, it’s like having turkey without the cranberry sauce. Four is my lucky number:)

Rolling a Fresh Lumpia (Spring Roll)

The white lumpia wrappers are better than the yellow ones used for deep-fried lumpia or turon. Be sure they are the thin kind, fresh and not frozen. We order ours from a Chinese-owned specialty store at the public market.

In addition to the lumpia, adobo French beans was served. Quite like utong (string beans), but with more crunch. Really yummy! For added flavor, he used oyster sauce instead of soy sauce. Iced coconut juice, chilled fresh pears and watermelon wedges completed the wonderful summery dinner.

French Beans Adobo

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2012

Summer Fresh Chinese Lumpia

My mother-in-law was a great cook. Fresh lumpia was one of her specialties. Hers was certainly the best. We tried to copy her signature mouth-watering dish. I guess it would make a healthy diet food.


  • thinly sliced Baguio beans
  • grated carrots
  • garlic
  • shelled baby shrimps and shrimp juice extracted from crushed heads
  • chicken strips
  • thinly sliced tofu
  • wansoy, or Chinese parsley or cilantro
  • lettuce
  • leeks
  • half and half ground peanuts with sugar
  • fried and strained sotanghon and nori (seaweeds) strips mix
  • scrambled egg strips
  • chopped garlic
  • chili sauce (optional)
  • lumpia wrappers


Sauté first 6 ingredients in very little oil. Drain after veggies turn limp. On a lumpia wrapper, arrange the cooked mixture together with other ingredients depending on your taste, then roll.

You can add other veggies like mongo sprouts and sauces like chili garlic or chili bean paste. Baguio beans can be substituted with sincamas (jicama) strips. Pork can be used instead of chicken. Be creative.

Photos by Blauearth Copyright © Blauearth™ ALL RIGHTS RESERVED