Pinakbet is a contraction of the Ilocano word “pinakebbet” which means wilted and shrunk. The main ingredients are vegetables usually found in the backyard of Ilocanos.
The combination of vegetables such as okra, eggplant, bitter melon, tomatoes, and string beans along with onion, garlic, and ginger as the main spices. The original Ilocano version uses fermented fish paste for seasoning.
There are also Pakbet recipe variants from the south wherein fermented krill is used instead, and they may have squash, camote, patani, and kadios depending upon the ingredients’ seasonal availability.
There is even a version with coconut milk and chili. To further increase the dish’s health benefits, malunggay is added.
A popular modification to accentuate the dish’s flavor is the addition of pork which is usually crispy fried. Some traditionalists insist that the ideal way to cook pakbet is to use a clay pot.
Layering of vegetables is critical to ensure that the vegetables hold their shapes.
The dish is usually paired with fried fish and steamed rice. The estimated cooking time is 30 minutes.
Since my husband is an Ilocano from the north he was thrilled when my Mom cook this during our visit to their house.
Instead of adding fish sauce, my Mom added shrimp paste instead and he asked why shrimp paste? Well that's how the tagalog's cook it.
He find in strange as the original dish was an Ilokano signature dish, they make the vegetables half cook as well.
- 200 g pork
- 180 g squash
- 120 g okra or lady finger
- 1 medium eggplant
- 5 pcs string beans
- 1 small bitter melon
- 1 medium onion
- 1 medium tomato
- 3 tbsp shrimp paste
- Sauté the onion, tomatoes and pork in a pan on medium heat.
- Add in the shrimp paste and stir to spread the the flavor evenly.
- Add the squash, string beans and bitter melon simmer for 3 minutes.
- Drop the eggplant then the okra.
- Cook for another 2 minutes and serve.