PINAKBET ILOCANO or PAKBET ILOCANO is the most award winning Pinoy vegetable recipe. It is usually served as in accompaniment to a fried or grilled meat or fish dishes. It is a combination of native eggplant, okra and ampalaya. Native vegetables are those which are usually small in size and grown by small farmers. But you can use the vegetables listed below that available in your local wet good market. There are many ways of cooking Pinakbet, some saute it, some cook it with shrimp paste or alamang, some add tomato sauce and some add soy sauce. But my best way in cooking Pinakbet is the Ilocano’s method and using the native vegetable ingredients. Here in Ilocos region, particularly in our province, Pangasinan, you can find the best bagoong or fish paste which is the ultimate secret in making a sumptuous and flavorful Pinakbet recipe. I think this is best for me because I got to acquire the flavor of fish paste in our dishes which I think is not so preferred by some. Well, I get to cook this vegetable dish since my kids, my husband and I are not so picky with vegetables. But it took me some time to let my kids get used to vegetables, teaching them the benefit of eating them. Pinakbet is also similar to Dinengdeng, but the latter is more of leafy vegetables into it.
Ampalaya or bitter gourd is great for it is rich in iron and is considered as the best medicinal vegetable in our country. It is beneficial for those who are diabetic. Okra is considered as a brain food for it is rich in phosporus. Eggplant helps block the formation of free radical and is also a source of folic acid and potassium. You may also add sliced squash, kamote, string beans or sitaw.
PINAKBET ILOCANO or PAKBET ILOCANO
1/4 kilo ground pork or sliced pork (small pieces)
6-8 small or native ampalaya (bitter gourd/melon), seeded, sliced
6-8 pieces okra, ends removed
8-10 pieces small or native eggplants, sliced
4-5 pieces native tomatoes, sliced
2 medium onions, peeled and sliced
3 tbsp. boneless bagoong or fish paste
1 cup water
3 pieces green long chilis (siling haba)
Heat oil in a pot. Saute onion for about a minute. Then add tomatoes, stirring constantly, saute for another minute. Add pork, stirring constantly until almost cooked. Then add water. Simmer for 5-7 minutes. Allowing the flavor blend with water.
Then, add with boneless bagoong. Season with salt. Now add okra, ampalaya and eggplants. Cook for 5-8 minutes, covered.
Add green long chilis and little salt or water if needed. Cook until vegetables are done.