Pinakbet is an Ilocano dish made up of vegetable varieties seasoned with fish sauce and salt. The word is a derivative of `pinakebbet` which means `wrinkled` in salty stock under sustained heat.
In old times, the vegetables were harvested from the farm or backyard garden and then prepared and cooked in a ceramic or earthen pot. The saltiness preserves the dish for a few days without refrigeration.
The original recipe contains pure veggie mixtures. However, as a result of modernization and indulgence, Ilocanos started to add bagnet (crispy pork belly) or sauted pork into the dish. Further, due to widespread popularity of pinakbet which extended to the Tagalog region and farther provinces, there have been various alterations and interpretations of the dish, including addition of seafoods and a glaze of edible oils.
This recipe is my own rendition of the dish giving an authentic Ilocano flavor.
5 pcs long eggplant (cut 2” length, slit)
1 long bitter melon (2”)
10 pcs okra (remove head)
String beans (2” length)
200g squash (cubed)
Fresh ridge gourd/luffa/patola (2”)
Green sweet chilli
3 Roma tomatoes (cubed)
7 cloves garlic (crushed)
3 cups water
½ cup fish sauce
A dash of coarse salt
1 tbsp vegetable oil
200g of pork or bagnet
- Heat oil in a cooking pot and toss garlic and ginger. Add pork. Stir until brownish then add tomatoes. Stir and let it stay for 5 minutes.
- Pour water and bring to a boil. Add fish sauce and all vegetables. Sprinkle salt on top and put lid cover.
- When it starts to steam, lift the lid and stir the veggies gently and ensure not to mash them as you continue cooking. Scoop a teaspoon of liquid to suit taste.
- Reduce flame; continue steaming without lid cover for another 15-20 minutes.
- Turn off the flame. Optional: for better result, wait for another 10-15 minutes before serving with Jasmine rice.