The huge bundle of water spinach or Filipino kangkong, was washed, trimmed and plunked right into the pan ready for the Dinengdeng.
The sour vinegar simmered with the black fish sauce or bagoong Monamon and already the aroma of sweet tartness with a salty zest was a promise of a good midweek dinner. And right next to it, was a big bowl of sinangag or garlic rice.
I had just bought a bunch of water spinach, also known as kangkong, from the nearby Asian grocery. Water spinach has longer stems, and thinner, lankier leaves compared to the regular baby spinach I get from supermarkets here in America. In the Philippines, kangkong is commonly grown all over the country, and sometimes labeled as swamp spinach. Filipinos have used it for a variety of dishes like – sinigang, tinola and even a kangkong-tomato-salty egg salad. Back here in my American kitchen, I had a huge amount of kangkong and I was craving the saltiness and crunch of Dinengdeng,
In a separate medium sized skillet, over medium-high heat, I made garlic-flavored rice to pair with the Dinengdeng. I sauteed cloves of garlic in hot oil. The savory aromas of fried garlic were wildly flying around the kitchen. Within minutes, the tasty garlic rice, served with the crisp Dinengdeng dish, warmly welcomed my family who walked into the kitchen that moment, lured by the powerful scents.
Dinengdeng - Water Spinach In Fish Sauce
- Large skillet or wok : 12 to 14 inches in diameter
- 3 cups Fresh Kangkong (water spinach); stems trimmed, sliced in 2-inch length; or use fresh baby spinach
- 2 Tablespoons Bagoong Monamon (salted anchovies); also known as bagoong balayan or bagoong dilis
- 2 Tablespoons white vinegar
- ½ cup water
- 1 whole onion, chopped
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
For serving: Sinangag - Garlic Rice
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled, minced
- 3 cups cooked white rice; at least 1-day old, must be refrigerated
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
To cook Dinengdeng
- Wash and drain the kangkong. Set aside.In the large skillet or wok, over medium-high heat, pour the water, vinegar, and Monamon. Allow about 2 minutes to simmer.Add the onions, and kangkong. Mix well with the liquid sauce.
- As soon as you drop the vegetables, turn off the stove. Let the kangkong cook in the residual heat for about 3 minutes. Season with black pepper.Remove the vegetables at once, no later than 5 minutes. You do not want to overcook the vegetables.Arrange kangkong in a platter. Pour the liquids from the skillet over the vegetables. Serve warm with sinangag - garlic rice.
To cook sinangag - garlic rice:
- In the same skillet or wok, over medium-high heat, add the oil.When oil is hot in about 2 minutes, saute the garlic.Add the cooked rice. Season with salt and pepper. Incorporate all the ingredients well, so that the garlic flavor is evenly distributed. Continue cooking for 2 minutes more.Serve warm with the Dinengdeng.
- What is Bagoong Monamon: The ingredient Bagoong Monamon (known in the Ilocano provinces) used in this recipe is also known as Bagoong Dilis or Bagoong Balayan, It is also called 'alubebe' by Kapampangans in our Tarlac province. This type of bagoong is bottled fermented salted anchovies, used as a condiment, or as a side dipping sauce to different Philippine dishes. The bottled Bagoong Monamon are sold in Asian markets or online sources here in the USA. In the Philippines, it is widely available in groceries or on trips to the northern provinces of Luzon, and are sold by roadside vendors in fruit and vegetable stands. This was always a "pasalubong" (gift from travel)which we purchased on road trips to the north.Ingredient substitute : If Monamon is not available, use patis (fish sauce) instead. Spinach substitute: If Kangkong (water spinach) is not available, use fresh baby spinach found in most supermarkets.
Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided in the recipe links is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.
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