The rains have started all over the country, ruining crops, especially vegetables. The result? Sky-high prices and scarcity of food items. Housewives are at a loss about how to provide nutritious meals for the family.

All is not lost. There are some vegetables whose supply and price are not affected by the rains.

Bean sprout

Two kinds of mongo bean sprouts are popular in the Philippines: One with long stem and root and another which has no root or stem at all. Since both are grown indoors in drums of water, their supply is not affected by the weather at all.

EAT TOGE-THER Stir fried bean sprouts

Called toge everywhere, bean sprouts are a favorite stuffing for both fresh and fried lumpia for merienda. To make lumpiang toge, the bean sprouts are sautéed with garlic, onions, shrimp, pork, and tokwa (soybean cake). Lumpiang toge is much bigger than all-meat Lumpiang Shanghai, served with a vinegar dip, while Lumpiang Shanghai goes with a thick sweet-sour sauce.

Kangkong

Also known as swamp cabbage, kangkong thrives in water and therefore does not disappear from the market when it rains. A favorite ingredient for sinigang, kangkong has lately become a hit in other dishes.

SEMI-AQUATIC, ALL DELICIOUS Water spinach or kangkong sambal

Restaurateur Larry Cruz introduced crispy kangkong to diners of his trendy bistros. Elsewhere, chefs developed gising gising, a dish made of crispy kangkong stems. At the National Press Club, journalists remember kangkong with lechon and bagoong. Chinese restaurants like serving kangkong with oyster sauce and kangkong with garlic.

Camote tops

Like kangkong, camote flourishes when it rains. Unlike kangkong, only young camote leaves and not stems are preferred. Camote tops are sometimes used in sinigang, although some chefs worry about discoloration of the broth.

VIOLET EVERGARDEN Fresh sweet potato or camote tops

The simplest way to serve camote leaves is by blanching in boiling water for 30 seconds and then immersing in cold water to prevent them from turning brown. The blanched leaves are then served as a salad with fish bagoong or bagoong alamang and calamansi.

Aside from sinigang, Filipino dishes that use camote tops include bulanglang, a non-sautéed version of pinakbet. The blanched leaves are also served in a Filipino salad with cucumbers and tomatoes and a sweet-sour vinegar dressing.

Western chefs who have discovered green jackfruit in cans have developed surprising uses for the fruit/vegetable. The American barbecue dish pulled pork is now served to vegetarians in specialty restaurants using canned jackfruit instead of pork.

Puso ng saging

BANANAS HAVE HEARTS TOO Ginataang puso ng saging

The blossom part of the banana tree is always plentiful no matter what the weather is. Shredded finely, banana blossom is most often cooked with coconut milk and chili peppers. In Cavite, old folks remember kilaweng puso ng saging, which tastes like bopis. Cavitenos also add puso ng saging to rice noodles for a unique specialty: Pancit Puso.

Bamboo shoot

Labong is harvested during the rainy season. Ilocanos love adding it to dinengdeng, cooking it with saluyot leaves and fish bagoong. The Chinese have many dishes using bamboo shoots in all stages of growth. Bamboo shoots are sold worldwide in cans. Filipinos are lucky to have them available fresh.

OH SHOOT Sliced bamboo shoot for cooking on wooden background, Asian food

Green jackfruit

JACK OF ALL TRADES Raw jack fruit

Most cooks are only familiar with green jackfruit cooked in coconut milk or in the popular Visayan dish KBL or Kadios, Baboy, Langka. But Western chefs who have discovered green jackfruit in cans have developed surprising uses for the fruit/vegetable.

The American barbecue dish pulled pork is now served to vegetarians in specialty restaurants using canned jackfruit instead of pork. Friends have also tried fresh green langka adobo, which looks and tastes like pork adobo.                


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2021/08/12/rainy-day-veggies/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rainy-day-veggies)