Chitika

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Philippines’ Most Popular Vegetables and Their Most Popular Culinary Uses

If you are planning to go on vacation to the Philippines, there are several kinds of vegetables that you can buy and consume.



These vegetables are amongst the favorites of Filipinos. Most of these vegetables are cooked separately or combined. A few of these vegetables are eaten raw.  These vegetables are grown all throughout the archipelago.

Eggplant (Talong)

Round variety

There are two varieties of eggplant that are common in the Philippines, the elongated and the rounded eggplant.


Elongated variety

Locally known as “talong”, this vegetable is cooked in many ways. It can be boiled and dip in fish sauce. It can be fried by cutting it in halves and dip in soy sauce. It can be grilled and mixed with chops of onions and tomatoes pour with fish sauce or “alamang”. It can be roasted, peeled and dip in whipped egg with salt and monosodium glutamate and fried – this is called “Tortang Talong” or Eggplant Omelet in English.


“Pinakbet”

Eggplant is also one of the major ingredients of the popular Ilocano delicacy “Pinakbet”.  It can be also added in the popular “Sinigang”. The eggplant is also one of the ingredients of the popular Filipino recipe – “Kare-kare”.

Lady’s Finger (Okra)


Okra plant is one of the easiest plant to propagate and grow because it grows well anywhere anytime of the year.

It is called Lady’s Finger in the west and like the eggplant; it is one of the major ingredients of the “Pinakbet”. It can also be boiled, grilled and fried and dip in fish sauce. It can also be added in the “Sinigang”. It can also be cooked exclusively as “Pinakbet na Okra”.

Bitter Melon (Ampalaya)


Ampalaya, also known as Bitter Melon or Bitter Gourd is one of the healthiest vegetables in the world. It provides many medicinal benefits which is good for people with diabetes. Its fruits and leaves can be boiled and eaten by dipping in fish sauce (patis o bagoong). It is scientifically named Momordica charantia.



Ampalaya is also one of the major vegetables in the “Pinakbet”. It is also cooked as “Relyenong Ampalaya” stuffed with ground pork.



One of the commonest recipe for Ampalaya is the so-called –Ginisang Ampalaya. Sliced amapalaya is sautéed in garlic and onion added with finely chopped pork meat and topped with eggs.

String Bean (Sitaw)


String Beans grow well anywhere in tropical areas. It can be boiled and dip in fish sauce with Calamansi juice. It is one of the vegetables in the “Pinakbet”.


“Dinengdeng na Labong”

It is also an ingredient for Sinigang and “Dinengdeng na Labong”, String Beans can also be cooked as “Adobong Sitaw”.

Squash (Kalabasa)


The flowers and shoots of squash can be boiled and dip in bagoong. It can be added also in the Ilocano delicacy – “Dinengdeng”. The fruit can be boiled and eaten. It can be grated and seasoned with salt added with some flour and fried. This popular Filipino snack is called “Okoy” and is usually dip in a mixture of vinegar with black pepper, onion and salt. It can be added in the “Pinakbet”. A matured fruit can be made into a dessert called “Maja Blanco Con Squash”. 

Water Spinach (Kangkong)


Kangkong is scientifically named Ipomoea aquatica and is also commonly called Water Morning Glory and Water Convolvulus.


Stir fried kangkong

The leaves and shoots of Kangkong are prepared in many ways as food. It can be boiled and stir-fry with minced of garlic and seasoned with fish sauce and msg. It can be added in the popular “Sinigang”. It can be cooked as “Adobong Kangkong” also.

Turnip (Singkamas)


Turnip, or locally known as Singkamas, can be eaten raw. It is usually peeled and chopped and dip in vinegar with salt. It can be diced and added in the recipe called “Battered Vegetables” which is a mixture of carrots, green beans, turnips and others. The turnip’s pods are usually added in “Pinakbet, Sinigang and Dinengdeng”.

Jute (Saluyot)


Jute is a very popular vegetable among the Filipinos especially the Ilocanos. The leaves are usually cooked with fish sauce with grilled fish such as “bulig” or mudfish and “hito” or catfish. Dried shrimps are another option. This recipe is called “Dinengdeng”.


“Dinengdeng”

Other vegetables that can be added in the “Dinengdeng” include string beans, bamboo shoot, squash flowers & tendrils and turnip’s pods. It can also be cooked as “Pinakbet a Saluyot. The ingredients include saluyot leaves, black pepper, fish sauce and garlic. Just put all the ingredients in a pot and let it boil. When all the liquid had evaporated add ½ cup of vinegar and boil again for few minutes and it’s done.

Butter Bean (Patani)


Its scientific name is Phaseolus lunatus. The young and tender seeds are usually added in the Pinakbet which gives an aromatic taste and smell. Dried seeds can be boiled and cooked like “Ginisang Monggo”. The pre-boiled seeds are sautéed in garlic and onion and added with “buto-buto” or bones of beef or pork and topped with malunggay or ampalaya leaves.

Winged Bean (Sigarilyas)


The young and tender pods of Winged Bean can be boiled and dip in fish sauce. It can also be added in the Pinakbet and Dinengdeng. The roots can be harvested and boiled and served as snack. A special recipe for Sigarilyas is the “Ginataang Sigariyas”. It is cut into small pieces and cooked in coconut milk added with chopped pork and siling berde and siling pula or green and red chili. Winged Bean is Psophocarpus tetragonolobus.

Luffa (Patola)

One of the two most common varieties of Luffa in the Philippines

Luffa or Loofa is scientifically named Luffa acutangula. Its young fruit can be added either to Pinakbet or Dinengdeng.


Another common variety of Luffa in the Philippines

It is added in Miswa or Noodles too. Miswa with Patola is sautéed in garlic and onion added with tidbits of meat then poured with 3 cups of water and flavored with salt, msg, and ground black pepper. The sliced Luffa is then added. The shoots can be boiled and stir fried.



Sweet Potato is one of the most nutritious and healthiest vegetable in the world. Its shoots are boiled and dip in fish sauce. The shoots of this vitamin A rich vegetable can be stir-fry with minced of garlic. It can be added in “Sinigang na Isda” too.


Boiled Camote Tuft

The roots can be boiled, grilled, fried and sweetened or made into chips. It can be made into desserts too. It is popularly sold as street food known as “Camote-Q”


Spiny Amaranth (Kulitis)


Its scientific name is Amaranthus spinosus and is also commonly called prickly amaranth or thorny amaranth. The young leaves and shoots can be boiled and stir fried. It is also valued for its medicinal importance.

Chinese Cabbage (Pechay)


This vitamin A rich vegetable can be boiled and stir fried. It is one of the vegetables added in the delicious “Kare-kare”.


Kare-kare with Pechay

Pechay is popularly added in “Sinigang”. It can be cooked also as “Ginisang Pechay”. Chopped the pechay leaves into pieces and sauté in garlic and onion. Usually, a can of sardine is added.

Mustard (Mustasa)


The leaves of Mustard can be eaten raw. It is usually dip in bagoong with kalamansi. In the same manner, the leaves can be boiled too. It can be pickled too. The Mustasa leaves are also added in the famous “Sinigang” recipes.



Malunggay or Moringa oleifera is an important food source for the Filipinos. The leaves, the pods and flowers of malunggay plant are edible. The pods can be cooked as “Pinakbet na Malunggay” and the flowers and leaves can be boiled and dip in fish sauce.



The leaves can be prepared as salad too. All parts of the tree is highly valued for its medicinal importance. The leaves can be added in “Ginisang Monggo”, “Tinolang Manok”, “Ginisang Mais” and many others.

Hyacinth Bean (Bataw)


Its scientific name is Lablab purpureus. The young pods of Hyacinth Bean or Undian Bean are optional vegetable added in the famous “Pinakbet”.

 

Bottle Gourd (Upo)


Upo is scientifically known as Lagenaria sicenaria. The shoots can be boiled and eaten. The fruit can be cooked as “Ginisang Upo” Simply cut the fruit into small pieces and sauté in garlic and onion plus chopped tomatoes and tidbits of meat. Add alamang and msg.


Ginisang Upo”

Cubed Upo can be added as extender to Dinuguan. Chuncks of Upo are also added in the Ilocano recipe – “Lauya.”

Radish (Labanos)


Sliced Radish is added in “Sinigang na Isda”. Finely sliced radish can be added in the popular condiment for “Inihaw na Isda” which is composed of chopped onions, tomatoes and alamang with red chili or siling labuyo.

Finger Chili (Siling Mahaba)


Siling Mahaba is also known as Siling Pangsigang. It is an ingredient commonly used in Philippine cuisine, spicing up dishes like sinigang, dinuguan, pinamgat, paksiw, sisig and kilawin. It can be cooked as “Pinakbet na Sili”. It can be pickled also.



A common Filipino chili condiment (Fish sauce, chopped chili with lime or calamansi juice)

Carrot, Potato or Patatas, Cauliflower, Cabbage or Repolyo, Broccoli, Chicharo, Baguio Beans or Green Beans, Umbok or Pechay Baguio, Bell Pepper, Lettuce and Chayote or Sayote are popular vegetables from Baguio City and neighboring mountain areas. These vegetables are collectively called “Gulay Baguio” or “Vegetables of Baguio City” although these are not exclusively grown in the city.

See also 

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