Pinakbet is one of the most popular Filipino vegetable dishes based in Ilocano cooking. It is a mixture of different vegetables like string beans, squash, eggplant, and okra. Filipinos are very innovative and creative when it comes to cooking this dish.
Some would add pork. Some would add either anchovies or salted and preserved sardines while some would add chicharon. Chicharon is a dish made of deep-fried pork, chicken or beef. These additional ingredients enhance the dish’s flavor.
Filipinos are stereotyped as vegetarians. This is due to the massive amounts of vegetable products produced in the Philippines. Given this fact, it’s not surprising that most of them are indeed vegetarians.
How to Make Pinakbet?
First of all, we have to gather all the needed ingredients:
- 1/2 kilo Pork Belly
- Six pcs. Okra (ladyfingers)
- Two pcs. Talong (eggplant) sliced
- 10 pcs. of sitaw (long beans) cut into 1/2 inches in length
- Kalabasa (Squash)
- Ampalaya (bitter melon)
- Three pcs. Tomatoes sliced
- One piece red onion chopped
- 1pc. ginger or turmeric minced
- Four cloves of garlic minced
- Three teaspoon bagoong alamang (shrimp paste)
- 1/4 kilo of chicharron
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
And then follow the procedure:
- Cut the squash into small cubes, as well as the okra and string beans into shorter lengths (preferably two to three inches).
- Heat a pan and add cooking oil, sautee garlic, onions, and ginger.
- Sautee tomatoes and add shrimp paste.
- Add pork belly and sautee for 3mins, close the pan and let the natural fat of the pork comes out.
- Add 2 cups of water and put pepper, let it boil for 15-20 minutes.
- Put Squash and let it cook for 5-7 minutes.
- Once you see the squash getting soft, put okra, eggplant, and long beans. Stir for 3 minutes and cover the pan and let it cook for another 3 minutes.
- Voila! Seasoned it with chicharron or crunchy pork skin.
- Serve and Enjoy!
Cooking Pinakbet is very easy and straightforward. However, some Filipinos take cooking the dish very seriously. Some add more ingredients than others, and depending on the region; they have different ways of preparing it.
But despite the differences, one thing will always remain constant. It will always be best enjoyed with the Filipinos’ favorite staple food, rice!
What do you think is the best version of this Filipino dish? Wanted to try a different recipe? Check out this article on how to cook Pork Adobo by a 3-year-old kid.