If you want to order a vegetable dish in the Philippines, it will invariably be pinakbet. It is a native Filipino dish that is made up of at least 6 vegetables. They are bitter melon, eggplant, string beans, pumpkin, tomatoes and okra. The base seasoning is something called bagoong or shrimp paste. To the non-Filipino, bagoong may appear very strong smelling, even pungent. But once you get used to it, bagoong adds great flavor to many dishes.
Bagoong comes in regular, sweet and spicy flavors. For this recipe, most people use regular.
Here is the pinakbet recipe in English.
- Pork, ½ pound (optional);
- Pumpkin squash, ½ pumpkin;
- Tomatoes, 4;
- Purple eggplant, 2;
- String beans, 8 long strands;
- Okra, 14;
- Onion, 1 small;
- Garlic, 4 cloves;
- Ginger, 1 tablespoon;
- Bagoong, 5 tablespoon;
- Coconut oil, 1 tablespoon;
- Water, 1 cup
Cut the vegetables into small pieces as in the picture. Dice the onion, mince the garlic, and cut the ginger into small pieces. Slice the pork into small to medium size.
It is important to cook the vegetables in a certain order because they will take different amounts of time to cook.
Heat the pan with the coconut oil. Add the onions and stir fry for 1.5 minutes. Sprinkle with salt. Add the garlic and ginger and stir fry for 30 seconds.
Add the meat and stir fry for 4 minutes. Add the bagoong and stir fry for 30 seconds.
Add the tomatoes and stir fry for 2 minutes.
Pour in some water. Add the pumpkins. Stir fry for a few seconds. Let it cook for 5 minutes.
Add the the rest of the vegetables and stir fry for 1 minute. Add more salt to taste. Cover the pan and cook for 8 minutes.
Taste the vegetables to see if it is soft.
Serve with steamed rice and enjoy!