Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Ilocos Region's Native Cuisine

The Ilocos Region's Native Cuisines
Featured Recipe: Inabraw or Abraw
In the last issue, Isla Kulinarya featured an Ilocano dish composed of a medley of local vegetables called pinakbet. We have also shared with you some interesting information about the region. This week,once again, we focus our attention on another cuisine, Inabraw or Abraw from this northwestern section of Ilocos, which is noted for being the birthplace of former Philippine President, Ferdinand Edralin Marcos, who ruled the country for almost 20 years.
Ilocos Norte's main source of livelihood is agriculture, where all lands for cultivation can be planted with rice, corn, garlic, onion, sugarcane, tobacco, and cotton. Cloth weaving, pottery making, blacksmithing, woodcarving and furniture making abound in this province as well. For those wishing to visit this province, they should be prepared to weather the extreme climate, which is very dry from December to April and very wet for the rest of the year. May is the warmest month, with an average temperature of 83 deg F, and December is the coldest.
Now, for our featured dish, we will be sharing with you the recipe on Inabraw or Abraw. Inabraw or Abraw is a vegetable soup dish that is marinated in a fish paste called "bagoong". "Bagoong" is the Philippines’ version of the French caviar and is used in a variety of ethnic dishes. Patiently fermented, anchovies are used to make bagoong and it provides a unique salty taste for the palate. Some say you are not a true blooded Ilocano if you do not like eating with bagoong.
Inabraw or Abraw
The vegetables used in this dish are garlic, onion, tomatoes, eggplant, and jute leaves. All of these vegetables are readilyavailable from every Ilocano’s backyard and a staple in many other local dishes including pinakbet. As in most Ilocano dishes, a generous portion of garlic, onions and tomatoes are used in the  making of inabraw. These vegetables are seasonings that are great for common cold, heart disease and a variety of illness.
On the other hand, Jute leaves or “saluyot”, popularly known in the medical field as the “wow vegetable”, is one of the most nutritious vegetables in the Philippines.  It is known to give smooth, clear skin, and increases the immune system. Because of its fibrous nature, it helps to maintain good intestinal health. Saluyot, onions, garlic,tomatoes and cut slices of eggplants or “talong”, a deeply purple glossy vegetable complete the making of Inabraw.  A nightshade vegetable, eggplants contain great antioxidants that helps in controlling cancer and diabetis. Together, these assortment of green leafy and colofrul vegetables in inabraw has been known to be the secret behind the long life, good health and youthful looks among Ilokanos.
Abraw is considered a healthy dish because of the amount of vegetables that make up this beloved Ilokano dish.
Here for the enjoyment of Filipino Americans is a healthy recipe-- brought to you by Island Pacific’s Isla Kulinarya.


Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Serves: 6

1 pt Water
1 tbsp Lobster Base (Sysco) or Taba ng Talangka (fat from tiny crabs) or  Knorr Chicken Cubes
1 tbsp Shrimp Base (Sysco) Taba ng Talangka (fat from tiny crabs) or Knorr Chicken Cubes
2 cloves Garlic, chopped
1/2” Ginger, peeled and chopped
1 pc Onion, small, quartered
2 pc Tomatoes, large, quartered
1 pc  Kabucha (squash), skon on, diced 1”
8 oz Malunggay
8 oz Squash Flowerettes
8 oz Jute leaves (Saluyut)
4 stalks Green onion (scallion), sliced fine
1 cup Lima Beans
1 tsp Bagoong Isda (Fish sauce)

Cooking Instructions:
  • In a stock pot, pour water. Bring to a boil. Add lobster and shrimp base or aba ng Talangka (fat from tiny crabs) or Knorr Chicken Cubes , garlic, and ginger. Bring to a boil for 20 minutes.
  • Add onion, tomatoes, squash and malunggay. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add squash flowerettes and jute leaves (saluyut). Simmer for 2 minutes.
  • Add scallion. Remove from fire.

Catch us again next week as we feature another Ilocano recipe, you'll surely love. Don't miss it! Mangan tayon!

Isla Kulinarya lets you explore the islands, taste the food, relive the memories -- all made possible by Island Pacific Supermarket. Go and visit an Island Pacifc near you with branches in Southern California located at Cerritos, Canoga Park, North and South Vermont in Los Angeles, Panorama City and West Covina;  Union City and Vallejo in Northern California.Check out our website at Stay connected with us-- like us on Facebook (island pacific market), follow us on Twitter (islandpacificUS) and  Blogger (island pacific market). For your comments, suggestions and request for recipes that you want us to feature, please email Presyong Sulit... sa Island Pacific.  Advertising Supplement.

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