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D is for Dinengdeng

Dinengdeng was what the mama prepared for dinner almost every day during summer when I was a kid. It's an Ilocano dish made of a variety of vegetables, which was quick and easy for the Mama to put together and cook after a long day of work pollinating vegetables. Because dinengdeng has such a musical sounding name, the dish ought to have been delicious, a comfort to my aging soul. Nope. The dish—the way the mama cooked it—continues to be a memory of Yuck!

It wasn't because of the vegetables. I liked them all: eggplant, long beans, squash flowers, saluyot (jute leaves), parda, bittermelon, and whatever other else was growing in the daddy's garden. When the Mama cooked the same vegetables as pinakbet, a vegetable stew with a tomato base, I couldn't get enough of it.

But, dinengdeng. Shudder! Still, I ate it. Quickly.

This summer, I started cooking my rendition of dinengdeng. That's only because I try to beat the Mama to the kitchen to cook the combination of veggies that come out of her garden and that are bought from the Asian farmer at the farmers market 30 miles away. My style of cooking dinengdeng is different. I do not use bagoong, a fermented fish sauce, because of the high sodium content. I also do not cook the vegetables to a pulp, which makes them tasteless for the husband and me.

I am surprised to find that I like dinengdeng. A lot.  The mama does not say Yuck! But, I can see her look at her bowl with a sigh on her face. So,  I have a challenge: To make dinengdeng that is tasty for the mama and not tasteless for the husband and me.

Di-neng-deng! Ding, ding, ding, ding.

Today, I'm hooking up at Alphabe-Thursday, a meme hosted by Jenny Matlock. Come and check out other "D" posts with me.


  1. love your choice.
    very cool D post.

  2. Dandy dish! Must taste good with all those fresh vegetables! Just stopped by from Alphabe-Thursday to say hello! Am now following you! Please come on over to the farm and follow back!

  3. It's interesting how our tastes change as we grow older...

  4. I used to hate it when my mother cooked peppers. The smell gave me a migraine headache. Now that I am older, I love cooked peppers. I grill them on the grill! Delish!

  5. What a great post!

    I enjoyed the glimpse into your childhood and such a different and cultural dish. I hope you find a way to make mama happy (and yourselves, too!).

  6. Could this be anything like the french Ratatouille? But I guess that would only be the case if butter was involved.

  7. Jingle, thank you.

    Cottonfieldfarm, some combinations weren't so great. In hindsight, I think my mom was so tired and stressed from work, her tastebuds were shot back then.

    Rocky Mountain Woman,that's for sure. :-)

    Judie: Grilling! I like to grill (more roast in the toaster oven) almost any kind of vegetable. It's such a different yummy taste.

    Sue, thank you. The next time I'm going to surprise the mama by making her portion of dinengdeng with a tiny bit of bagoong.

    Dana, the pinakbet is like a ratatouille. Bittermelon is the thing that makes it different.

    Thanks all for stopping by. This is my first time participating in Alphabe Thursday. It's been fun.

  8. wonderful d post! thanks for sharing! and thanks for your visit! ....blessings...s.....

  9. This was such a fun and interesting post! I'm curious about the directions for making dinengdeng. How is it different than, say, vegetable soup?

  10. This is a super D post! I bet I would like YOUR version of dinegdeng a lot better than your mom's, especially since I've never warmed to bagoong!

  11. EXCUSE ME????? No recipe???? I love veggies - so please post a recipe, OK? The one you and hubby liked.

  12. I've never tried that dish before, but now I am super curious about it - don't tell mama, but your recipe sounds better, for my taste that is.... Thanks a lot for your kind comment on my BON day post and for your cheer at WOW's blog! you are very nice!! enjoy your weekend ;)

  13. Su-sieee
    Your dish sounds delish. Sometimes I crave bitter melons but can't get them in Montana. I was macrobiotic for 35 years and used large amounts of shoyu. That made my sodium level extremely high and potassium level too low. I've had to stop all extra sodium and I'm doing potassium salts compounds with each meal.
    You're a super wonderful cook.
    And movie director LOL

  14. Okay, ladies, since you insist...the next time I made dinengdeng, I shall write down what I do. If it tastes good, I'll share the recipe.

    Wow, Manzi, you like bittermelon. I don't know too many people who do. Even the mama has lost her taste for it. A little goes a long way for her. A lot goes short for me. She makes a mean pickled bittermelon that I want to learn to make. Another recipe I shall share one day.

  15. What a neat post!

    I loved this little journey through your history and your culture.

    I would very much like to see a picture and a recipe. It sounds quite intriquing.

    Thank you for linking to Alphabe-Thursday.


  16. Jenny, an A+! Wow! The last time I ever got one of those was in first grade, a very very long time ago. :-)

  17. It is hard to find the balance between bland and flavorful. I bet you are up to the challenge.


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