“bagoong” or fish paste. Sometime during the cooking process, a flavoring meat usually fried or grilled fish or dried shrimp fry or krill are added to further improve the taste of both the broth and the cooked veggies.
For me, this dish is not really something we can brag about. After all, from its original and humble inception, it is prepared in a simple, easy and straightforward procedure utilizing simple ordinary vegetables and inexpensive local seasoning. That’s all. It is basically intended to be a simple meal of a rather simple, and probably frugal, family. But out of its simplicity, the dish is tasty and satisfying…… not to mention very healthy. That it has become popular not only in the Ilocos region (Philippines) but also in other neighboring regions and even in the Manila Capital area.
Being a vegetable dish using fresh local harvests, it is best eaten with some fried or grilled fish along with lots of steamed rice. But it also goes well with other seafood dishes like the “halabos na hipon o sugpo” (steamed shrimp or prawn) which we ate alongside "abraw” and posted here before. If you like grilled or boiled or steamed veggies dipped in “bagoong” in your meal (like me), then you will appreciate this dish and probably love it later on.
To cook my colleague’s version we need the following vegetable ingredients: 2 bundles of “bulaklak ng kalabasa”, trimmed and stigma removed, 2 bundles of “saluyot”, young leaves selected, 2 bundles of “dahon ng malungay”, young leaves selected and 1 medium “patola”, peeled and cut to 2 inches sticks.
bagoong” or fish paste, about 2 pcs grilled (or fried) small fish of your choice and about 2 to 3 cups water.
“bagoong” and simmer for a minute. Stain the broth and discard solid particles. Bring the casserole back in the heat and continue simmering. Scoop out scum that will form on the surface. Add in grilled fish and simmer for 2 minutes.