22 August 2006


Pinakbet is a vegetable dish that's popular in the northern part of the Philippines, particularly in the places where Ilocano is spoken. Making it is really simple. Just mix up the ingredients as you put in the things that cook the longest first, and you're good to go!

We had pinakbet for lunch last weekend at rainy Baguio City. A most wonderful meal with my family! Here's the basic recipe that serves 5 to 6 to try out for yourself:

Pork, diced
5 medium tomatoes: seeds removed and chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 bunch sitaw (what's the english equivalent?)
1 bunch okra
1 medium ampalaya (bitter gourd)
1 medium kalabasa (squash)
4 medium eggplant
cooking oil
shrimp paste (alamang) OR fish sauce (bagoong). I love pinakbet cooked in fish sauce but for that lunch, we opted for shrimp paste instead. Wala lang.

Wash all the veggies and chop.
Put the pork into the frying pan and pour water unit submerged. Cover and cook until all water has evaporated. The pork will start releasing its own oil. Let it cook until brown. Help by adding cooking oil.

Protect yourself from hot oil splatters using the frying pan cover while tossing the pork around until brown.

Set aside the pork. Pour in a bit of cooking oil and stir-fry the onions and tomatoes. When the onions appear a bit translucent, put in the tomates and continue mixing. Listen to your stomach rumbles because of the aroma!

Put in the shrimp paste. Mind that this is a bit salty. If you don't want your dish to be on the salty side, elders advise washing the shrimp paste a bit first to weaken the flavor.

If using fish sauce, drain it with a strainer over the frying pan so only the sauce goes to the dish and not the fish.

After less than a minute of mixing, put in the hardy veggies first such as the okra and sitaw. Pour water until ingredients are just about submerged. After a couple more minutes, mix in the rest of the ingredients and let simmer until you can pierce the squash with a fork and it stays on the fork. When it crumbles away, it's overcooked and there's nothing we can do about it. :-)

Serve with hot, steamy rice! Great with fried fish too!

Drop by the Baguio-Quezon blog for the cooking oil prank!
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