This is one of the first vegetable dishes that I have learned to eat while growing up. My grandma, as I had known her for being a pescetarian and lover of vegetable dishes, would always cook and serve vegetables fresh from her backyard. I can recall how she would always insist that squash is good to improve eye sight and that eating beans would make a young boy strong. She would always say amazing things about vegetables and would keep on telling the same thing every time I do not feel like eating vegetable until I finally get used to it. It was her who taught me to eat okra and malunggay. And just like grandma, now I have learned not only to love but also to explore different kinds of recipe for vegetables.
|Pinakbet with bagoong alamang is a popular vegetable stew in Tagalog Region.|
Aside from dinengdeng, (a vegetable stew that is indigenous from grandma’s Ilocos home town), Pinakbet has become a regular vegetable fare at home. A popular variation from Tagalog Region, the dish is cooked similarly to dinengdeng. They only differ in some ingredients like the use of bagoong alamang (shrimp paste) instead of bagoong isda (fermented fish sauce). Pinakbet is very versatile that it does not have strict rules as to what types of vegetable to use. Normally, one would depend on the prolific ingredients that are planted in his own backyard or sold in the local market.
Pinakbet (Mixed Vegetable Stew)
Number of Servings: 4 to 6
- 2 pcs. medium-sized eggplants, sliced
- 1 pc. medium-sized ampalaya (bitter gourd), deseeded and sliced
- 1 cup chopped squash
- 1 bunch string beans, trimmed and cut in 3 inches length
- 10 pcs. okra, cut diagonally into 2
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pc. large white onion, chopped
- 3 pcs. small tomatoes, chopped
- 3-4 tbsps. bagoong alamang (shrimp paste)
- ¼ lb. pork (with fats) thinly sliced
- ½ cup water
- 1 tbsp. cooking oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the cooking oil on a large wok. Add pork and cook until the meat is light brown and rendering fat.
- Add the garlic, onion and tomatoes. Sauté for about 3 minutes.
- Add the shrimp paste and stir fry for another 3 minutes.
- Add water and bring to a boil. Set to simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Add the squash and bitter gourd. Cook for about 5 minutes.
- Add the remaining vegetables and cook for about 5 minutes. Do not overcook the vegetables to retain the texture and nutrient. Season with salt and pepper.
- Remove from heat and transfer on a platter. Serve with hot steamed rice. Enjoy!
TIPS FROM ENZ:
- You may add leftover pork chops and fresh shrimps to flavor the dish. If not a fan of pork, you may use beef, shredded chicken or grilled fish as alternatives.
- No strict rules on the vegetable mix. You may create your own medley though fruit-bearing vegetables are preferred.