Recipe for PINAKBET (Pakbet)


Pinakbet (also called pakbet) is a popular vegetable dish in the Philippines. Pork is often added for flavor, but it is omitted during Catholic meatless days such as on Holy Week.

INGREDIENTS FOR PINAKBET

2 medium-length eggplants, cubed
1 medium-length bitter melon (ampalaya), sliced
6 tender okra pods
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup of sliced onions
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
1 cup water from rinsing rice
3 tbsp fermented sauce (less if it's a salty bagoong)
1 tbsp pounded ginger
1 cup boiled sliced pork
2 tbsp cooking oil

HOW TO PREPARE PINAKBET


1. In a pan, fry the boiled pork to brown. Set aside.
2. In the same pan, stir-fry the garlic, onions, ginger and tomatoes.

3.  Boil the rice-washing water in a large pan (2-qt capacity) with the bagoong.
4. Add the pork and the stir-fried garlic, onion, ginger and tomatoes.

5. Bring back to a boil, then add the ampalaya, eggplant and okra.
6. Cover the pan and cook over high heat, then turn down the heat to prevent scorching.
7. Cook until the vegetables are done. Don't overcook because the vegetables will lose their bright colors and become mushy.

*Feel free to vary the ingredients. For instance, squash (kalabasa) is a popular ingredient because it adds a bright orange color to the dish. String beans (sitaw) are another popular vegetable in pakbet.  If you don't have bagoong on hand, just use salt.