Once in a while you would need to eat vegetables to have a meat dish reset. Vegetable dishes need not to be boring nor bland. Pinakbet are both rich in flavor and packed with nutrition.
Originated from the Ilocos region of the Philippines, it is the main vegetable dish that most Filipinos (local and global) make as a home-cooked dish and on few specials occasions as well.
Pinakbet can be modest with just vegetables or can be extravagant with the addition of bagnet (Ilokano-style crispy pork belly) or topped with fish. What make's it distinct to other gulay is the main vegetable ingedients — Ampalaya. You omit putting bitter gourd on the dish, then you must call it another name!
Let's cook our Ulam Pinoy version of Pinakbet...
- Ampalaya (bitter gourd)
- String beans
- Long green chilis (siling haba)
- Pork belly strips
- Bagoong (fermented fish sauce)
- In a pot at medium high heat, add pork belly strips with little water and a pinch of salt. Wait until the water disapper and the pork renders to its own fat. Add and sauté garlic, onions, tomatoes and bagoong. (This is the moment we turn on the exhaust fan)
- Add the vegetables: squash; string beans; orka; ampalaya and eggplant. (The idea of the sequence is to put in first the vegetable that needs more cooking time)
- Add water and simmer until the vegetables are cook to your liking. Ready to serve!
Enjoy Pinakbet with your favorite fried fish, steamed crab or crispy pork belly! Today we have some crispy fried fish (locally known as Lubina or sea bass).
Have a great week ahead, and like they would invite you in Iloko: "Mangantayon gagayyem!"