Pinakbet is a vegetable dish from the Philippines that can be served as an everyday dish or when you have company. Since it also contains pork and prawns, you can eat it as a one-pot meal. This vegetable stew makes one hearty and delicious dinner meal!
My husband usually requests this vegetable medley when we’re tired of eating meat. Although it is usually cooked with pork, we love ours with only shrimps as protein. But, if you want to add pork. you can do so by adding Lechon kawali after it’s cooked. For me what sets aside Pinakbet from other vegetable dishes is the addition of shrimp paste. It really gives the dish a complexity in taste that makes it unique.
This recipe may not be traditional but it sure is tasty and very easy to make. A good way to get your children to like vegetables. I usually serve this with a side of fried or steamed fish and steamed rice.
One thing to remember though, using the freshest vegetables is ideal for pinakbet. Frozen vegetables just don’t cut it. And hey, who doesn’t want to cook with fresh ingredients anyways!
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Tips for Pinakbet
- Cut all vegetables in the same size as much as possible. Not only will it look nice but also so they all cook evenly and avoid others from getting mushy while waiting for the rest to cook.
- Add vegetables depending on how long they cook. Those that take longer come in first. Normally the squash comes first then bitter gourd, eggplants, and yard-long beans.
- 2 tbsp cooking oil
- 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
- 1 large onion (sliced)
- 4 tbsp shrimp paste
- 1 shrimp broth cube (optional )
- 2 cups water
- 1 large tomato (cut in cubes)
- 2 bitter gourds (seeded then halved and cut into slices)
- 1 large eggplant (cut in cubes)
- 1 ½ cup string beans
- 3 small okras (cut into halves diagonally)
- 1 small squash / pumpkin (peeled and cut into cubes)
- 1 tsp salt
- In a wok or deep pan, heat oil over medium heat.
- Add the onion and garlic and cook until tender and aromatic.
- Add Shrimp paste and saute for approx. 1 minute. Add tomatoes and cook for about 3-5 minutes or until it becomes soft.
- Add squash then stir to coat the vegetable with shrimp paste. Cover the pan and let it simmer for about 2 minutes.
- Add beans, bitter gourd, okra, and eggplant. Stir a bit then add shrimp broth cube dissolved in the 2 cups of water.
- Add salt and let simmer for about 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
- Transfer to a serving plate and serve with rice and your favorite fried fish. Bon Appetit!