Pinakbet or Pakbet is one of the popular dishes that originated mostly in the provinces here in the Philippines. It is a vegetable dish that is cooked in Bagoong Alamang (Fermented Shrimp Paste) or what’s famous in Ilocos, Bagoong Isda (Fermented Fish Sauce). Different regions have their own version but the method of cooking it is just the same. You pile up the vegetables according to its cooking time and let it steam with its own juices. It is not stirred but rather the pot is just shaken a few times to avoid mashing the vegetables.
Ampalaya (Bitter Gourd) is the main star of the dish, though some tries to avoid eating it, but the bitter taste of it makes a huge difference and elevates the dish. Chicharon or Bagnet (Crisp Fried Pork Belly) can be added on top to make the dish luxurious.
Good for 6-8 people
- 4 cloves Garlic, chopped
- 1 medium Onion, chopped
- 3 pieces Tomato, chopped
- ¼ cup Shrimp Paste (Bagoong Alamang)
- 1 cup Water
- 250 grams Squash (Kalabasa)
- 3 pieces Round Eggplants, cut into rounds
- 1 piece Baby Bitter Gourd (Ampalaya), sliced onto bias
- 2 bundles Okra, heads removed
- 2 bundles String Beans, cut into 2” long
- 2 bundles Winged Beans (Sigarilyas), trimmed and cut in half
- As needed Cooking Oil
- To Taste Salt and Pepper
- ½ kilo Bagnet or Lechon Kawali
- In a pot, heat oil and sauté the garlic and onion. Add in the tomatoes and shrimp paste. Sauté until fragrant. Pour in the water and let it simmer.
- Add in the squash at the bottom and simmer for 5 minutes. Add on top the eggplants, bitter gourd, okra and winged beans. Layer the vegetables and let it cook for 10 minutes. Do not stir, just shake the pot once.
- Season the Pinakbet with salt and pepper. Serve the Bagnet or Lechon Kawali on top.