Recent campaigns from some concerned groups against animal cruelty have made me aware that it's an option to become a vegetarian (at least for a day or so).
Talking about vegetarian dishes, Pinoys have one of the best dishes that can qualify,which is the “Pinakbet.”
Pinakbet comes from an Ilocano word pinakebbet, meaning "shrunk" or "shriveled”, a reference I believe to what happens to the ingredients as it is cooked.
The authentic Pinakbet that we used to prepare at home uses bagoong (fermented fish paste) for that salty taste while other versions use fermented monamon or other fish, while further south of the archipelago they prefer bagoong alamang (fermented brine shrimp).
The usual gang of suspects ins the pan are: bitter melon, eggplant, tomato, okra, string beans, chili peppers , parda, winged beans among others. Occasionally to add color to the dish, root crops and some beans like camote, patani, kadios are also added.
1/4 lb pork, thinly sliced (optional)
1 large egg plant, chopped
1 medium-sized bitter melon, chopped
1/4 lb squash, chopped into 2x1 inch cubes
3 pieces large tomato, sliced
1 piece onion, sliced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
6 to 8 pieces okra
1 bunch string beans, cut in 3 inches length
4 tbsp shrimp paste
1 cup water
3 tbsp cooking oil
salt and pepper
1. Heat the pan and put the cooking oil.
2. When oil is hot enough, saute the garlic, ginger, onion, and tomato
3. Add the pork and cook until color turns light brown (about 5 to 8 minutes)
4. Put-in the shrimp paste and cook for 2 minutes.
5. Add water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until pork is tender
6. Put-in the squash and cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until texture becomes soft
7. Add the remaining vegetables and mix with the other ingredients.Simmer for 5 minutes or until all the vegetables are cooked. (Do not overcook the vegetables)
8. Serve hot with steamed white rice. Share and Enjoy!