Recently, my husband and I went to this Asian grocery store that is popular among Filipinos. I love going to this store because it carries most of the fruits and vegetables that I love to eat growing up in the Philippines. I was able to find and purchase my favorite fruits and some vegetables that are not commonly found in any Asian grocery store. For example, I was able to buy some wing beans and malunggay leaves which I used to make this boiled vegetables dish with anchovy sauce (Dinengdeng). Dinendeng is a popular dish which originated from the Ilocos region of the Philippines. The dish consists of a variety of vegetables which are boiled in water that is flavored with aromatics and bagoong monahon (anchovy sauce). It is similar to pinakbet because both dishes use the same vegetables; squash, eggplant, okra, green beans, and bitter melon. However, unlike pinakbet, this dish has grilled or fried fish. Nevertheless, both pinakbet and dinengdeng are my favorites. Both are healthy and delicious dishes that reminds me of my childhood.
- Bangus belly – main protein in this dish. Other preferred kind of fish may also be used.
- Flour – is used to coat the fish before frying. It prevents the fish from sticking to the frying pan.
- Avocado oil – is used to fry the fish.
- Aromatics: onion, ginger, tomato – add a layer of flavor to this dish
- Seasonings: kosher salt and bagoong monamon (bagoong isda) – give salty flavor to this dish
- Vegetables: banana squash, okra, eggplant, wing beans, malunggay leaves and serrano peppers – collectively make this dish a healthy and hearty one.
HOW TO MAKE DINENGDENG:
To make this dinengdeng recipe, first fry the seasoned fish belly until golden brown. Set them aside. Next, in a pot, boil the water together with the aromatics and bagoong monahon ( anchovy sauce) for 5 minutes. Add the vegetables and cook the mixture until the vegetables are tender. Finally, add the fried fish and further cook for another couple of minutes. This boiled vegetable dish with fried fish is best served hot with steamed rice.
- The fried fish is added at the last couple of minutes of cooking time and boiled together with the vegetables. The boiled fried fish adds extra flavor and taste to the dish.
Dinengdeng (Boiled Vegetables with Fried Fish in Anchovy Sauce)
- 2 boneless bangus (milkfish belly) , cut in halves
- Kosher salt
- 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
- ½ cup avocado oil or preferred cooking oil
- 2 cups water
- 1 onion , peeled and quartered
- 1- inch piece ginger , peeled and julienned
- 1 large tomato , cut into wedges
- 2 tbsp bagoong monamon (anchovy sauce or bagoong isda)
- 8 oz banana squash , peeled, deseesed and sliced into 1-inch cubes
- 12 pieces fresh okra
- 1 Japanese eggplant , sliced into ½-inch pieces
- 8 pieces wing beans , ends trimmed and sliced into 2-inch pieces
- 2 cups trimmed malunggay leaves (moringa leaves)
- 2 serrano peppers
- Season the bangus belly with salt and then sprinkle with the flour.
- In a wok or frying pan, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the bangus belly and fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels and set aside.
- In a pot, combine the water, onion, ginger and tomatoes. Bring the mixture to a boil. Stir in the bagoong monamon, reduce the heat to medium and let the mixture simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add the squash and cook for 2 minutes. Add the okra, eggplants and wing beans. Continue cooking until the vegetables are tender, about 3 minutes.
- Add the malunggay leaves and serrano peppers and stir. Arrange the fried bangus on top of the mixture and then continue cooking for 2 minutes.
- Serve hot with steamed rice.