Tag Archives: recipe

What’s cookin’? Pinakbet, a Filipino Dish

Food is very much part of the Filipino culture. If you go to a Filipino house, you’re going to eat whether you like it or not. Once you step into a filipino home, some of the first words you hear are, “Are you hungry? Come and eat!” If you stay for a few hours, you’ll probably get a meal and a snack.

Most people know about lumpia, which is basically a Filipino eggroll, and pancit, a noodle based dish. But very few people are willing to try other dishes. If you go to a Filipino restaurant, it’s easy to find lumpia and pancit along with the dish, Pinakbet.

I don’t think I liked Pinakbet when I was younger, but as I got older I became more adventurous with the things I ate. It’s now one of my favorite Filipino dishes, so I’m happy to share it with you.

But what exactly is Pinakbet? There’s no English translation for this dish, but it’s basically vegetables cooked in fish sauce accompanied with pork, fried fish, or shrimp. It’s from the northern region of the Philippines and a widely prepared Ilocano dish. It’s one of the dishes that has been passed down from generation to generation. My mom learned from my Apong (grandma) and she makes it so often, that I feel like I would be able to pass it on to my future children.

It’s a fairly easy dish to make. My mom tells me that it’s something her family used to cook all the time because vegetables were easily accessible. They didn’t have a fridge in their home in the bukid (farm or field), so they just harvested vegetables in the field and cooked it for the day for the whole family. If it was anything like now, they were cooking for a huge family.

If you’re looking to make Pinakbet, here’s what you’ll need:

INGREDIENTS

  • Tomato
  • Okra
  • Onions
  • String Beans
  • Sweet chili pepper
  • Kobucha
  • Bittermelon
  • Eggplant
  • Shrimp
  • Chicharon (pork skin/fat)
  • Bagoong (fish sauce)
  • Water


First, prepare the vegetables. Wash and peel the vegetables before slicing them up into small cuts. As for the shrimp, no need to have the peeled. Cook them as they are to get added flavor.

After you prepare the shrimp and vegetables, place it all in a stockpot. Pour the fishsauce according to how salty you like it! I’m not really helpful with measurements, but you can always wing it and do trial and error. Then add water, a little less than how much fishsauce you added. My mom usually goes with one bottle of water. Don’t forget to add the chicharon as well!

Let it cook until the vegetables are shrunken/shriveled – an hour is usually good. That’s where the name Pinakbet comes from. Apparently, that’s the Ilocano translation.

I’m not much of a fan of bittermelon, so I usually put it aside, but my favorite part of the dish is the kobucha. I could eat it all day!

xoxo,

Adele

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What’s cooking?

Due to my living situation, I can’t really cook a lot. Β With certain limitations and me [and my mom] being shy to go out in the kitchen, we eat out a lot.

I’m pretty sure I’ve gained the weight I lost last year, from eating fast food and going to restaurants almost every day. It’s gotten to the point where I got sick of these food places I frequented. Some days I lose my appetite.

But we’ve found a way to cook a little more without feeling the guilt or pressure from our landlord. I’m pretty excited because I’m going to get the chance to eat a little better and cook what I want to eat.

I bought some ingredients with the intent to make mushroom chicken, but I forgot to get oyster sauce. Today, I ran to the closest store and went straight to the Asian section, but alas, they had run out. So I had to use what was available to me.

A few of my favorite vegetables include squash, so naturally I bought zucchini, Mexican squash, and kabocha. I think I would never get tired of squash, kabocha especially. The kabocha was used yesterday to make Ginataang KalabasaΒ (Squash in coconut milk), which I must say, was pretty amazing. So today, I wanted to make another squash dish. Because I didn’t have oyster sauce, I opted for some sort of soup.

I’m not great with measurements, but these were the ingredients I used:

  • 1 zucchini
  • 2 Mexican squash
  • 1 package mushrooms
  • bok choy
  • 1 can of chicken broth
  • garlic salt
  • stir fry sauce
  • 1 lb of chicken (pre-cooked)

As far as prep, there isn’t much to cooking vegetables. At least I don’t think so. Make sure you wash everything and get that excess dirt off. Nobody wants a worm crawling around in their soup, although I hear it’s extra protein. Hehe. I try to be funny.

After washing, time to slice! I sliced the zuchinni and mexican squach about 1-inch thick and cut them in halves. The mushrooms came sliced and that’s how I like it. Mushrooms are always so awkward to cut.

I started with boiling water and adding the squash first. I wanted to make sure they were cooked through and soft. Before adding the mushrooms, bok choy, and pre-cooked chicken, I added the can of chicken broth and brought that to a boil.

For taste, I added a few sprinkles of garlic salt. I absolutely love garlic salt with parsley. I season everything with it. I thank whoever decided that was a good combination. Now, because I didn’t have oyster sauce, I used stir fry sauce. It’s not the same, but it gave it a little taste and added some thickness to this so-called soup.

I want to learn how to make traditional Filipino dishes, but I love experimenting with different ingredients when cooking. I mean, what’s better than mixing your favorite things together? It’s always a plus if the dish ends up tasting good.

My mom says she liked it, but she’s a bit biased.


xoxo,

Adele

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Twitter: @itsadeleee / @adeleLIVETWEETS
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