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Cardis is a popular beans for Ilocanos. For tagalogs they call it kadyos. In English, it is called pigeon peas or red gram or congo peas. It is a perennial legium from the family Fabacease and its binomial name is Cajanus Cajan.*

I've known this beans through my husband who is an Ilocano and he said this is a common food serve in their table during his younger years. Since it is one of his favourite food, he didn't hesitate to teach me how to cook this recipe. When cook into perfection it is actually very appetising to eat and great pair for the rice. 

If you are living abroad don't worry because now a days, this beans is commonly available from Asian shops. Greenish colour pigeon peas referred as an immature beans, while the mature ones have a deep brown colour and meatier. Which one is better? I guess it depends on the palate of the person tasting it. For me, I preferred the immature ones, but if it is not available the mature beans wasn't that bad. 

Watch this video to see the step by step cooking guide and tips on how to cook it like an Ilocano way. 

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  • 1 medium size onion - cut lengthwise
  • 2 large tomatoes - cut into big pieces
  • 2 - 3 medium eggplant - cut julienne 
  • 1 - 2 cups of spinach
  • 1 cup cardis
  • 700 g pork spare ribs -  cut 2 inches long
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce + few drops for adjustments
  • 1/4 tsp salt + pinch for adjustments
  • 1 - 2 litres of water

  1. Start washing the cardis for few times until the water is clear. Add a new fresh water in a tall pan and level should be just slightly above the level of cardis. Boil for 5 - 10 mins.

  2. In another pan, put the water, just estimate that it could cover the whole lot of meat when submerge. Wait to boil. Add the meat once boiling. Then boil it again for 5 mins to remove impurities. Then drain the water and wash the meat with tap water to remove impurities sticking to the meat. ( Tips: By doing this you will not only remove the impurities, but also the fats that  came out from the meat. )
  3. After boiling the cardis for 5 - 10 mins, drain the water and wash the cardis with tap water ( Tips: We do this to remove the unpleasant smell of the first boiled liquid ). Then put a new fresh water into the pan enough to cover the cardis ( and the meat when added later). Bring to boil.
  4. When the cardis is boiling, add the washed meat. Distribute all over the pan. 
  5. Add the tomatoes, onions, fish sauce and salt. Cover the pan and boil it for at least an hour or an hour and a half. Please don't forget to put the heat to high setting initially then lower it to low setting once started to boil. Stir in between boiling for even heat distribution unto the meat and prevent sticking to the pan, at the same time check the meat to avoid over cooking.

  6. After that, when meat is soft enough. Put the next ingredient, the eggplant. Simmer it for 10 to 15 mins until soft.
  7. Next, add the washed spinach and simmer again for 3 - 5 mins. 
  8. Check the taste if need to be adjusted. You can add salt or fish sauce depending on your taste.
  9. Remove from heat once the spinach turned translucent, but still with bright green colour. Avoid over cooking. 
  10. Transfer to serving bowl. 
  11. Enjoy eating it with hot steamy rice!

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