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The Philippines is well-known for possessing a very colorful, flavorful cuisine because of a large variation of seasonings and spices at our disposal. We’ve been able to mix and match arguably some of the best flavors because of these ingredients. But one seasoning that definitely can’t get left behind in the discussion of Filipino classics is bagoong. It adds a certain level of savor and umami that feels hard to replicate. This is why dishes featuring bagoong as the hero are able to really shine. Take our Binagoongang Talong as an example.
It is a glorious array of garlic, onions, vinegar, chili pepper, eggplant, and of course, the unmistakable bagoong alamang or fermented shrimp paste. While on its own, bagoong alamang is able to bring richness to a dish, it gets even better with these flavorful ingredients. This is how it is able to hype up a seemingly simple dish in eggplant or talong. We stew sliced eggplants in these components to make it shine.
This is how the dish also works amazingly well even without pork (here is the recipe with pork, by the way). But this recipe also offers the possibility of adding some meat to the mix.
And so while we’re at it, let’s get to cooking some Binagoongang Talong:
Frying the eggplant:
The first step for this will be putting 4 tablespoons of cooking oil in a cooking pot. Wait for this to heat up, then you can place your 2 pieces of eggplant you’ve sliced inside. Make sure to fry each side of the eggplant for 1 ½ minute. Then take this off the pan, and set it aside, as we turn to cooking up the ingredients that will add some flavor to the talong.
Creating our delicious binagoongan stew:
Place 3 cloves of garlic that you’ve chopped into the pot. We’ll be sautéing this with the oil we have left from earlier. Once the garlic is light brown, you can start adding your onion and tomato, both of which you’ve chopped beforehand. We’ll be sautéing these with our garlic until the onion gets soft.
Then we can put our 3 ounces of pork, as well as 4 chili peppers that are chopped. For this step, you can choose to forego the pork depending on your preference. Then cook these ingredients up together until the pork is good to go. An indicator of this is when it turns light brown.
Now for that delicious umami taste, place your 3 ½ tablespoons of bagoong alamang in the pot. You can go a long way flavor-wise with just this amount. Cook this up with the rest of your ingredients for 1 minute. Then start pouring ¾ cup of water, as well as 1 tablespoon of vinegar into the pot. Just wait for it to boil, then once it starts doing so, we can let it cook for 3 to 5 minutes. This really ensures that all the flavors— from the powerful vinegar to our salty garlic— seeps into the binagoongan stew.
Integrating the fried talong into the binagoongan:
Then we’ll get on to a very important step, which is taking our fried eggplant from earlier, and adding it to the mix! To make sure everything is mixed together well, stir your pot, then let it all cook for 1 ½ minutes.
Now you can add 1 teaspoon of brown sugar, as well as your preferred amount of ground black pepper. After that, pour everything from your pot onto a serving bowl so you can immediately start dining on this delectable dish!
Perhaps this Binagoongang Talong recipe has got you thinking about creating some other dishes adopting the same yummy technique.
Let me introduce you to a couple of other binagoongan dishes to cook:
There is no question that binagoongan dishes can stand well on their own with just a mix of vegetables. But if you’re interested in trying it with some pork, there is perhaps no better way to have it than with some juicy pork ribs. With its soft texture, we get to enjoy our binagoongan even more as its strong flavor merges well with the ribs. And unlike our main recipe, this doesn’t use chili peppers. This would also be a good alternative if you are looking for a bit less heat in your dish.
It would definitely also be fitting to try binagoongan with a white meat component. Chicken Binagoongan creates a gorgeous mix of flavors in bagoong alamang, onions, Serrano pepper, and sigarilyas. Because of how neutral-flavored chicken initially tends to be, it also adapts to the full-flavored nature of binagoongan stew. And conveniently enough, this only takes 45 minutes to make. You won’t have to worry about rushing in the kitchen so long as you allot a bit less than an hour to cooking!
Now if these recipes appeal to you, make sure to check out even more dishes on the Panlasang Pinoy site. And if you have any suggestions for recipes, or questions about Binagoongang Talong, feel free to comment below!
- Heat oil in a cooking pot. Fry eggplant for 1 ½ minute per side. Remove from the pan. Set aside.
- Using remaining oil, sauté garlic until it turns light brown. Add onion and tomato. Continue sautéing until the onion softens.
- Add pork and chili pepper. Cook until the pork turns light brown.
- Add bagoong alamang. Cook for 1 minute.
- Pour water and vinegar into the pot. Let boil. Continue cooking for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add fried eggplant. Stir and cook for 1 ½ minutes.
- Season with ground black pepper and sugar.
- Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve. Share and enjoy!