Pinakbet Tagalog recipe also known as pakbet is a Filipino vegetable dish made with mixed vegetables, pork, shrimp and flavored with shrimp paste or bagoong alamang.
Kabocha squash, eggpant, long beans, okra, bitter melon are common vegetable ingredients in pakbet. I also like adding lima beans if I have it on hand.
This pinakbet recipe is a variation of the Ilocano Pinakbet that uses fermented salted anchovies called bagoong monamon.
Some tips when making pinakbet tagalog
This Filipino vegetable dish is by far one of the easiest to make yet delicious and healthy but requires some cutting. Cut all the vegetables same sizes so they cook evenly.
Aside from shrimp paste, adding pork and shrimp adds so much flavor to pinakbet. While cooking, it releases its juice that makes this dish tastier.
Some people use lechon kawali instead of regular pork. It is delicious but that would be an extra step.
You can use pork belly but if health conscious, use a leaner cut like pork shoulder and trim some of the fat.
I used to buy a whole piece of pork and slice it, but my mom suggested to try using ground pork. Yeah, it is much flavorful and saves me some time.
Since then, I've been using ground pork whenever I cook soup or vegetables.
Pinakbet Tagalog can be a meal in itself but of course it is scrumptious with rice drizzled with its sauce.
Some people prefer it with less sauce but I like it with more sauce plus kids will appreciate it more since that’s the only thing they will eat – the sauce, pork and shrimp.
This dish pairs well with fried fish or fried pork.
What vegetables are used in pinakbet?
Squash, eggplant, long beans (sitaw), bitter melon (ampalaya) and okra are commonly used but other vegetables like camote and young pod of malunggay can be added too.
Lima beans is also delicious and adds texture.
Kabocha squash skin is edible
Kabocha squash is one of the vegetable ingredient for pakbet. This squash is sweet, creamy and delicious and pairs well with the other vegetables in this dish.
Although I love kabocha squash, I am discourage to have it all the time. It is so tedious to peel. The skin or rind is hard and it takes time to peel.
At times, I am deterred to buy the whole thing instead I only get half so I don’t have to deal with it.
I have read the skin is edible. One day, I tried cooking with the skin and hail and behold, the skin was as soft as the flesh. In fact, I like it much better with the skin. It adds texture and the taste is awesome too.
Since then, I’ve been cooking kabocha with the skin plus it is an excellent souce of fiber.
It purees well too.
Nex time you cook this dish, wash the kabocha, cut it in half, remove the seeds and cut it into portions with the skin. You won’t regret it.
Just make sure the skin is cook and soft. It cooks at the same time as the flesh.
How to cook pinakbet tagalog
- Saute onion, garlic and tomato.
- Add shrimp paste, pork and shrimp.
- Add all the vegetables. Vegetable that cooks longer goes in first. Before adding ampalaya (bitter melon), soak in warm water with salt to lessen its bitterness. Vegetables are best when tender yet crisp, so don’t overcook them especially the eggplant.
- Season and you're done. Hope you enjoy this delicious and healthy dish.
Pair Pinakbet with Fried Fish or Fried Pork
Pinakbet Tagalog Recipe
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- ½ pound ground pork or sliced pork
- ½ pound shrimp peeled and deveined
- 1 - 2 tablespoons shrimp paste
- 2 medium tomatoes cubed
- 1 ½ cup water
- ½ small kabocha squash (kalabasa) peeled and cut into pieces about 1 ½ in x 1 ½ in
- 8 pieces okra
- 1 bunch yard long beans (handful) ends trimmed and cut to about 3 inches long
- 1 large eggplant top trimmed and cut diagonally about 1 inch thick
- 1 bitter melon (ampalaya) halved, deseeded and cut diagonally into ½ inch thick
- salt or fish sauce to taste
- Before cooking, soak bitter melon (ampalaya) in warm water with 1 teaspoon salt for about 10 minutes. Drain.
- In skillet over medium heat, heat oil.
- Saute onion until soft.
- Add garlic and cook until golden.
- Toss-in tomato and cook until soft and limp. Once soft, mash it with kitchen utensil.
- Stir-in shrimp paste (bagoong alamang) and cook for about a minute and half.
- Add ground pork and cook until pale in color.
- Toss-in shrimp and cook until pink.
- Pour water. Simmer.
- Toss-in kabocha squash (kalabasa), cook for about 2 minutes. Note: Kabocha squash skin is edible and cooks at the same time as the kabocha flesh.
- Add long beans (sitaw), eggplant and okra. Cook for about 4 minutes. Note: If matured okra, add it now but if tender it can be added towards the end.
- Toss-in bitter melon, cook for about 2 minutes. Cook vegetables until tender yet crisp.
- Season with salt or fish sauce.
- Pick young okra if you are allowed to. Unfortunately, I can't. They package it with mature and young okra.
- This is an extra step but if you feel some vegetables will over cook, transfer them to a platter while cooking the others. Cook vegetables tender yet crisp. Don't over cook as soggy vegetable is not good.
- Start with the bitter melon (ampalaya) when preparing this dish so it has enough time to soak in water with salt. It will lessen the bitterness of the vegetable. Also, I add this last, since it precooked already in warm (not hot) water.
- Lima beans is also a delicious ingredient.