Pinakbetor pakbet is a popular Ilocano dish, from the northern regions of the Philippines, although it has become popular throughout the archipelago. The word is the contracted form of the Ilocanoword pinakebbet, meaning “shrunk” or “shriveled”. The original Ilocano pinakbet uses bagoong(“bugguong” in Ilokano), of fermented monamon or other fish, while further south, bagoong alamang is used. A Tagalog version usually includes calabaza. Most of these vegetables are easily accessible, and are grown in backyards and gardens of most Ilocano households. It is considered a very healthy dish, and convenient in relation to the harsh and rugged, yet fruitful Ilocos region of the Philippines.
The vegetable dish pinakbet is more than a regional cuisine. It is an enduring symbol of the Ilocano palate and a lucid display of the Ilocanos’ history of contestations and struggles with the physical and social environment. The recipe weaves intimations of the cultural productions of the Ilokanos’ transaction to their arid and less productive land.
Estimated cooking time: 35 minutes
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
Pakbet Cooking Instructions:
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.