Pinakbet is a stew of various vegetables with shrimp paste.
We live in a part of Southern California where there is an easy access to grocery store that carries various kinds of Filipino products – even ingredients packed in portion for dishes such as pinakbet.
I do not usually buy pre-cut vegetables because they have either dried out or some bad ones are sneaked in the mix of vegetables.
The one I got is absolutely fresh and just about the right portion for us. It is a time-saver too as I don’t have to do any peeling and chopping.
Certainly, you can just buy vegetable in whole form. You will need okra, squash, green beans, eggplant and bitter gourd or ampalaya.
For this recipe, I used about 1-pound of vegetables so make sure to adjust your seasoning accordingly if cooking more vegetables.
Prepare the vegetables:
Bitter gourd – remove the core and slice in 1/3 inch thickness. If you want to reduce bitterness, sprinkle some salt, then leave for about 5-10 minutes to sweat. Rinse and drain before using.
Eggplant – cut in half and slice.
Yardlong beans – cut into 2-inches in length
Squash – peeled and cut into chunks
Okra – do not slice okra until ready to use to minimize slime
Stir fry the pieces of pork in a hot pan. You should have brown and crispy edges on the meat before adding onion and garlic. The brown bits and rendered fat from the chunks of pork belly will give the dish added flavor!
Stir in the shrimp paste and continue to sauté for 3 minutes. Shrimp paste has a very pungent smell but it will dissipate as you cook and get incorporated with other ingredients.
Add the vegetables into the pan and continue to stir in high heat for about 3 minutes. Pour in 1 cup of water and let the liquid come to a boil.
Once the liquid mixture is boiling, cover the pot and reduce heat to simmer vegetables until tender. You may have to stir occasionally.
If you have string beans similar to what you can find in the Philippines, add it 3 minutes before the other vegetables to allow more cooking time. I noticed that it cooks longer than the bean variant here in the US.
- 1 pound vegetables such as the following: eggplant okra, squash and bitter gourd (Ampalaya)
- 1/2 pound pork sliced
- 2 tablespoons shrimp paste
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 onion sliced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tomatoes diced
- 1 cup water
- Slice the ampalaya in half and remove the core. Slice across into even thickness of about 1/3 inch. Sprinkle with salt to reduce bitterness and sweat for about 10 minutes. Rinse and drain, then set aside. Slice the rest of the vegetables into bite size pieces.
- In a pan, add pork and fry until brown in spots and fat is released, about 3 minutes. Add the sliced onion and saute for 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the shrimp paste and mix for another 2 minutes. Add chopped tomatoes.
- Place all the vegetables in the pan. Add 1 cup of water then cover. Once the liquid is boiling, set the heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the vegetable is tender but crisp.