I made inabraw

I have been fortunate to be able to work from home, and even though I’m doing more work (because journalists’ work shoots up in a crisis), I’m also making more meals.

The necessity of cooking for oneself during a quarantine aside, a also have more kitchen time because the two our more hours I would have spent on the road, I can now spend in front of the stove (though lets be honest, I still end up spending it on work).

So. Inabraw. I happened on the dish, also called dinengdeng, while scrolling through Instagram. It had three things I liked: sayote, bagoong, and soup.

I did a quick recipe search and also asked Chef Ramon Antonio for tips, and voila, I made my first Filipino dish!

I used what I had on hand: sayote, kangkong, okra, tomatoes, garlic.

The result tasted like sinigang, but without meat. The extra tartness comes from using vegan bagoong made from fermented santol.

It’s a simple dish, but I’m quite proud of myself for making it.

I’m ashamed to say it, but making Filipino dishes (and Chinese ones, for that matter) have always intimidated me. First because I always associate them with meat, second because they tend to feed more than one person, an third because you often need rice to eat them.

I’m only now exploring vegetable-based Filipino dishes, which I knew existed, but was also too scared to try because-don’t laugh-using coconut milk intimidates me.

I’m trying to get over all my weird fears now because I realized that when I don’t try something I’m interested in, the only loser in the equation is me.


Yvette Tan is a multi-awarded author of horror fiction and a lifestyle writer for major local and international titles.