Pinakbet, or Pakbet an Ilocano dish, is stewed vegetables of eggplant, bitter melon(ampalaya), okra and tomatoes and seasoned with bagoong isda or thick salted fish sauce.
My Ilocano friend says they cook Pinakbet by layering the veggies in a pot, with the longest cooking time at the bottom and just let it simmer(without stirring or mixing) right until the veggies are cooked.
This way, the ampalaya, okra and eggplants hold up their shapes.
For this recipe, I did the Filipino standard of sauteing wherein the garlic goes in the oil first until lightly browned, the onions are next until translucent, then the rest of the ingredients.
I say, Filipino standard of sauteing, (pag-gisa/guisado),because you will not find that process in other cookbooks.
In fact, Culinary books will teach you to saute the onions first and the garlic last so as not to burn it and ruin the dish.
Well, you go with what works for you.
(Note: The dish is shown on a plate rather than a bowl to present how the veggies are cut and to show that they're not overcooked and mushy.)
YOUR PINAKBET SHOPPING LIST:
IN THE PANTRY:
PREPARATION TIME : 15 minutes
COOKING TIME : 25 minutes
1 Saute the garlic, onion and tomatoes. Add the pork and saute for a minute.
2 Turn the heat down and add the vegetables, layering them in the pan from the bottom in this order : ampalaya, okra, and eggplant.
3 Add the broth and bagoong. Cover, let it boil, then simmer for 10-15 minutes until the vegetables are cooked but still firm.
4 Stir in the fish or shrimp. Season with ground pepper.
5 Serve with rice.
(Learn more about COOKING RICE, THE FILIPINO WAY.)
BENG'S COOKING TIPS