The Pinakbet Tagalog is the perfect example of a dish that would make you say, “Why didn’t I eat this more often when I was younger?”
Because admit it, most of you had that memory in the back of your heads that you avoided this vegetable-based dish when you were just a child, and cried out for something more friendly to that taste buds instead–like fried chicken, or breaded pork chops.
But when you were older and was “forced” to taste it, you realized that you’ve been missing out and that this dish is actually delicious! After all the flashbacks and taste testing, you now know that there is definitely a reason why it is so popular.
In this recipe article, you can make up for your missed opportunities when you were just a child and learn how to make this savory veggie dish anytime you want! If you have a family now yourself, you can return the favor to your children and make them realize earlier.
Read on below to see some tips and trivia about this popular version of the famed Ilocano dish.
What is Pinakbet?
Pinakbet (sometimes called Pakbet) is a popular dish composed of mainly vegetables, which originated in the region of Ilocos and has since spread out all over the country.
The term pinakbet actually comes from an Ilocano word which means “shriveled” or pinatuyo in Tagalog, and as the method of making this dish suggests, the ingredients are cooked to the point where they look shriveled and dried out.
It traditionally uses vegetables such as eggplant, bitter gourd (ampalaya), tomatoes partnered with pork meat and anchovy paste, but other popular variations of the pinakbet use shrimp paste instead.
How to Cook Pinakbet Tagalog?
Making pinakbet Tagalog may seem to be a hard task because of the amount of ingredients usually included in it. But once you have prepared all of the ingredients. Cooking it is almost as easy as a nice walk in the park. So don’t worry, you got this!
When preparing the ingredients, make sure that what you have is fresh, especially the vegetables because we are dealing with a lot of them and they tend to have different cooking times. It is recommended to have your ingredients with smaller cuts so they can be easily cooked inside and out, so do that for all of them.
If you are satisfied with how the preparation process went, cooking the pinakbet becomes an easy and a straightforward process. All you have to think about is to toss in all of your ingredients into the pan one after the other.
Pinakbet Tagolog Tips:
- As said earlier above, it is important to take note that the slices of the ingredients are equal in sizes, to make sure that they will be cooked evenly.
- The vegetables are tossed into the cooking pan depending on how long they are to cook. More mature vegetables take longer to cook so adjust when you want to add in the vegetables accordingly.
- There are other types of pork meat you can use, but this recipe uses pork belly because it has the right amount of meat and fats in it, and is quite perfect for the Pinakbet Tagalog.
- Shrimp or other types of fish can also be used as your main ingredient for the Pinakbet Tagalog instead of pork if you want to.
For a quick reference about this recipe, see the recipe table below:
Pinakbet Tagalog Recipe
- 500 g pork belly, cut into serving pieces
- 1 pc onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp shrimp paste, bagoong alamang, you can also us anchovy paste (bagoong isda) if available
- 2 pcs tomato, cut into cubes
- ½ pc small-sized squash (kalabasa), cut into cubes
- 8 pcs okra, cut in half
- 1 pc bitter gourd (ampalaya), sliced
- 1 pc large-sized eggplant (talong), sliced
- ½ bunch string beans (sitaw), cut into 2-inch length
- 2 cups water
- 2 tbsp cooking oil, for sauteing
- salt and pepper, to taste
- In a large cooking pan, pour-in and heat oil in medium heat.
- Add-in the chopped onion, and minced garlic. Saute for 1 to 2 minutes or until soft and aromatic.
- Add-in the pork belly. Cook for 1 minute or until lightly browned.
- Add-in the shrimp paste and pour-in and heat water until it boils. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until pork is tender.
- Add-in the tomato cubes and squash cubes. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add-in the okra, sliced bitter gourd, sliced eggplant, and string beans. Cook for 2 to 4 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper as desired and transfer to a serving plate. Serve and enjoy!
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