A Failed Attempt in Cooking Dinengdeng

Overstaying vegetables are one of our usual home problems. Some vegetables take more than a week in the fridge because we either don’t have the time to cook them or they’re just too many.

Upon opening the fridge one day, I noticed that we have ampalaya (bitter gourd), talong (eggplant), sitaw (string beans), and takway. Their freshness is gone and they will be sent to the trash can if they stayed longer in the fridge. Throwing these veggies means throwing away hard-earned money, so I decided to salvage them.

After a bit of Google search, I discovered this popular Ilocano dish: dinengdeng.

The original dinengdeng
Photo by :Thepacificconoisseur / en.wikipedia

Dinengdeng is just a mixture of veggies and bagoong. Cooking this dish is very easy. It is the perfect dish for our overstaying veggies.

Ingredients for Dinengdeng

Tomatoes (3 pcs)
Onion (1 pc)
Magic Sarap
Bagoong Isda
Pork (bite-size and fried)

How I Cooked Dinengdeng

1. The first thing that I did is to cut the ampalaya, talong, sitaw, and takway to bite-sized slices. I then sliced the sibuyas into two and quartered the tomatoes.

Vegetables for dinengdeng

2. I boiled the water in a pot and then placed the tomatoes and the onion. I then added the bagoong isda. I let the mixture simmer for a while. The scum forming at the sides of the pot were promptly removed.

3. I threw in the talong, sitaw, ampalaya, takway, and the fried pork. I let it simmer until the veggies are cooked.

4. I then added Magic Sarap and salt until it tastes OK.

5. I finally served it hot for dinner.

My Cookery Result

My version of dinengdeng

My dinengdeng tasted very bitter. Even Lei made the same remark. It’s so bitter that she didn’t eat it. The taste is not surprising because I placed 1 and a half amplaya in this dish.

I had no choice but to eat it all of it. I think I finished eating my dinengdeng after three meals. The sad part is that ampalaya is my most hated vegetable. I think eating this dinengdeng was my punishment for cooking so badly.

My consolation is that ampalaya is known to be good against diabetes.


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  1. Overstaying veggies? Overstaying where? In your house? Hehe.

  2. Oh so ampalaya is bitter gourd. Just brought a Filipino friend for lunch here in Malaysia and I asked him if he tried fried bitter gourd? He did not know what is that then he mentioned is it ampalaya. I thought that sounds familiar haha so I said I think so. Because when the fried bitter gourd came out, it looked nothing like bitter gourd hahaha!

    1. It is my first time to hear about fried bitter gourd. They fry those things? Hehe

  3. Oh you placed too much bitter gourd in your dish. Don't think I can eat it too! LOL!

  4. If you come to Malaysia, I will introduce to you the fried bitter gourd. That one has no bitter taste. LOL!

    1. I'm really itching to visit your country Foong. When oh when.

  5. They say rub the bitter gourd with salt, leave it for a while and later, rinse the salt away with water - it will not be bitter. Also when buying, choose the ones with very broad ridges - not so bitter. But bitter is good - it's good for health and pests will not bother about it so it will be pesticide free.

    No worries. When I first started cooking, many things did not turn out well either...and I would quietly throw them away. Keep at it - I am sure you will get better and better.

    1. P.S.
      Frying bitter gourd is better than cooking in soup - you will not have to drink the bitter soup...and the ingredients will counter the bitterness so the taste will not be that much.

    2. Your tips are the same as the one that my mother gave. :-) I usually do the rubbing with salt when I'm cooking the bitter gourd with egg.

      I will keep at it. :-) Cooking is a very cool talent to have.

      Maybe I'll try frying bitter gourd next time.


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