I enjoyed a lot of my teenager years in Baguio City and I miss that place a lot specially the food, the cuisine of this region is one of my favourite regional cuisines in the Philippines as it showcases a lot of fresh indigenous vegetables and offal A place known for being frugal, there are no meat parts that are thrown away, from blood and intestines everything is prepared into a delicious meal, it even uses a lot of flora and that are unknown to other parts of Philippines. Food was cheap during my university days, with PHP 10.00 to 15.00 in our school cafeteria I already have rice, 2 viands (a meat and vegetable dish) plus a bottle of soft-drink, dishes like dinakdakan, insarabasab, pinapaitan, igado, dinaldalem and dinengdeng are the regular ones you can order.
Today I am making one of those regular fare, a personal favourite, the Inabraw. Inabraw may not be for all, it a bitter slimy vegetable soup, it takes a while to get used to but once you are hooked you will look for it every time. A vegetable medley of string beans, eggplant, okra, jute leaves and bitter melon that is cooked soup style flavoured by fermented fish sauce and sometimes etag (a type of dried and salted pork/meat) then served with fried fish. It’s a comfort food and a healthy one.
- 1 bundle string beans, sliced
- 3 pcs Asian eggplant, sliced
- 12 pieces okra, trimmed
- 1 cup jute leaves
- 1 large bitter melon, sliced
- 2½ cups water
- ¼ cup bagoong monamon
- 200 g itag / etag (dried pork, alternatively you can use Guanciale, Pancetta, Speckor Bacon)
- 1 thumb sized ginger, thinly sliced
- 1 large onion, roughly chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- In a pan sauté garlic, ginger and onions.
- Add itag and stir fry until fragrant.
- Pour water then bring it to a boil. Simmer in low heat for 20 minutes.
- Add the bagoong monamon, stir then add the bitter melon, string beans, okra, and eggplant. Bring back to a boil then simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the jute leaves then cook for 2 more minutes. Turn off heat, place in serving bowl.