could not recognize the song Bahay Kubo? A classic Filipino
nursery song with lyrics of which mention many different local
vegetables (...Ang halaman doon ay sari-sari...). Filipinos
use, mix and cook vegetables in different methods and call
them in different terms. Want to start singing the song?
Filipinos like vegetables
cooked most often through sauteing (gisa), boiling, or cook
with coconut milk (ginataan). Across the country, there are
similarities among the dishes served at home and in canteens
For example, dinengdeng,
and law-uy, are two dishes of Ilocano and Visayan origin,
respectively. These vegetable dishes, however, both include
several leafy and fruit vegetables as ingredients, cooked
by boiling and without the use of cooking oil. For dinengdeng,
leafy vegetables (e.g. saluyot, ampalaya leaves, squash flower,
stringbeans tops, malunggay, etc.) are mixed together. Grilled
fish is commonly added and fish paste (bagoong) is used to
taste the dish. As for law-uy, leafy and fruit vegetables
(okra, eggplant, alugbati, kangkong, etc.) are mixed, and
fish is also often added using salt to taste.
Ginisa is a much used
method of cooking by Tagalogs in preparing vegetables. Fruit
vegetables such as upo, sitaw, kalabasa, puso ng saging, sayote
and carrots, among others are often sauteed. Vegetables are
cooked in a small portion of oil with garlic and a small amount
of meat, shrimp or small fish then seasoned with salt or fish
sauce to taste.
Vegetables cooked with
coconut milk are more commonly prepared by Bicolanos and Visayans.
Famous examples of vegetables cooked in coconut milk are gabi
for laing, and nangka. Ginataang nangka is sometimes called
salad na nangka by Visayans.
Another common method
of cooking vegetables is by adding scrambled egg (torta) such
tortang talong and ampalaya fruit.
In general, Filipinos
are not meeting the required intake of vegetables in their
diet and shows a downward trend in the consumption, based
on the latest National Nutrition Survey in 2003 of the Food
and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science
and Technology (FNRI-DOST). Vegetable intake in the 2003 survey
is 12.5 percent of the total food intake compared to 13.2
percent in 1993.
Vegetables are needed
for proper regulation of body processes. They are rich sources
of several vitamins and minerals. Green leafy vegetables like
kangkong, camote tops, malunggay, gabi, ampalaya and others,
are rich sources of beta-carotene, iron, vitamin B complex,
vitamin C, calcium and other minerals. Yellow vegetables such
as squash, carrots and tomatoes are also rich in beta-carotene.
Vegetables are rich in dietary fiber, which prevent constipation
by providing roughage for easier bowel movement. They are
also rich sources of anti-oxidants to prevent certain diseases
Three servings of vegetables,
about one-half cup cooked per serving, are suggested for daily
consumption. Two messages of the Nutritional Guidelines for
Filipinos recommend eating a variety of food everyday and
consume to vegetables, fruits and rootcrops. These messages
can be realized if the vegetables in the song Bahay Kubo are
eaten regularly. This is especially true for children, whom
we teach the song. At least it would make them appreciate
and become more familiar with the vegetables in the song.
Now, try singing Bahay Kubo and think which vegetable you
will eat in your next meal.
For more information
on food and nutrition, you may write, call or visit: Dr. Mario
V. Capanzana, FNRI Director, at the Food and Nutrition Research
Institute, Department of Science and Technology, General Santos
Avenue, Bicutan, Taguig City; Telephone/Fax Nos.: 837-2934,
837-3164; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or at email@example.com;
FNRI-DOST website: http://www.fnri.dost.gov.ph