The Classic Pinakbet
There are a lot of variations of this Ilocano dish but nothing compares to the version of the great Ilocano cooks.
In the Northern part of the country, some people I say pinakbet tastes different from the ones served in the restaurants of Manila, or even from the Southern part of the Philippines. The ampalaya tastes more bitter, the bagoong, saltier and the rest of the ingredients, a little bit crispier.
Pinakbet is the contracted form of the Ilocano word pinakebbet, meaning “shrunk” or shriveled.” In Ilocos province, people use bagoong as the main flavor of this all-Filipino dish, while in the South, alamang is preferred. Other ingredients include eggplant, tomatoes, ginger, squash, lima beans, winged beans, etc. But through the years, pinakbet has evolved into various forms. Let’s try to learn the classic way of preparing this great Ilocano dish.
•1/4 kilo pork with fat, cut into small pieces
•2 Amapalya (bitter melons) sliced to bite size pieces
•2 eggplants, sliced to bite size pieces
•5 pieces of okra, cut in two
•1 head garlic, minced
•2 onions, diced
•5 tomatoes, sliced
•1 tablespoon of ginger, crushed and sliced
•4 tablespoons bagoong isda or bagoong alamang
•3 tablespoons of oil
•1 1/2 cup water
•Salt and pepper to taste
•In a cooking pan, heat oil and fry the pork until brown, remove the pork from the pan and set aside.
•On the same pan, saute garlic, onion, ginger and tomatoes.
•In a casserole, boil water and add bagoong.
•Add the pork in the casserole and mix in the sautéed garlic,
onion, ginger and tomatoes. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
•Add in all the vegetables and cook until the vegetables are done, careful not to overcook.
•Salt and pepper to taste.
• Serve hot with plain rice.