Pinakbet or pakbet is a popular vegetable dish in the Philippines which originated in Ilocos Region, the word pinakbet is derived from the Ilocano word pinakebbet, meaning “shrunk” or “shrivelled”. It is cooked with a different variety of vegetables such as bitter melon, string beans, eggplants, okra, tomatoes, lima beans, etc. (the list can go on) and flavoured with bagoong. It is a good dish on its own but it is better when paired with meat usually fried fish or grilled pork. My version would be a simplified version as it’s hard to find bitter melon in where I live and it is seasonal as well.
So for the veggie lovers try this one out, it’s the Filipino version of the Ratatouille.
- 2 small Asian eggplant, sliced into 2 inch pieces
- 1 bunch string beans, sliced into 2 inch pieces
- 300g okra, sliced into 2 inch pieces
- ¼ squash or buttercup, sliced roughly 1 inch
- 1 large bitter melon, sliced
- 150g shrimps, shelled and deveined (optional)
- 150g pork belly, cubed
- 2 pcs tomatoes, diced
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- ½ head garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp bagoong monamon
- 1 tbsp sugar (optional, some love this with a hint of sweetness)
- fish sauce or sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup water
- In a pan sauté garlic, onion and tomatoes in oil.
- Add pork pieces and brown evenly.
- Add squash and okra continuously pan frying for 2 minutes, bring the heat to low and cover for 5 minutes
- Add string beans, bitter melon and eggplants pan fry pan fry for additional 2 minutes.
- Add water, sugar, shrimps and bagoong monamon, cover and simmer for 5-8 minutes in medium heat until vegetables are cooked.
- Season with pepper add fish sauce/salt if needed.