Dychauco: Pinakbet-A A +A
Pots and Pans
Thursday, March 8, 2012
ONE of the best dishes I can imagine for the coming Lenten season would be none other than this very popular vegetarian dish from the Northern part of the Philippines. A dish that make use of local fresh produce, from our very own backyard. Maybe not.
But at any rate, the main ingredients for this well-loved dish among Pinoys are readily available in the market or supermarkets. Even in our friendly neighborhood sari-sari stores.
Pinakbet is not only popular among the Ilocanos but throughout the islands where it is almost always found in the menus of restaurants and carenderias.
Although there are a few changes in the ingredients, depending on the availability of the vegetables and the use of bagoong or bagoong alamang as the “salting” agent, it is still “pinakbet.”
Like any other process in the preparation of a dish, we all start with sautéing garlic and onions in hot oil. Then depending on the vegetables used, it is added gradually or all at once with the bagoong added last.
And the vegetables are then simmered till soft and when all flavors are well blended. Most often, a little amount of water is added and there are some who also use tomato sauce to further enhance the dish.
So, what major ingredients are used in this hi-fiber dish? Tomato, bell pepper, eggplant, ampalaya (bitter melon), okra and string beans. I have also seen camote being added, which I find very good.
Practically, all of these play an important role in bringing the dish together. However, that should not stop you from trying this with any of the above-mentioned items, with one more and the other less.
Just make sure bagoong is used. I personally like the spicy sautéed bagoong alamang for this. Patis can also be added if desired for a more pronounced salty taste, which a lot of Pinoys love because it blends very well with the steam rice. But not so good for people with known hypertensive disease, I should warn!
This is truly a vegetarian dish, but of course one is free to add bits of pork, chicken or shrimps to it. In the Ilocos region, they usually use bagnet (their version of chicharon).
I remember doing this particular dish and a few others in three of my culinary demonstration for a major seasoning company that brought me to Ozamiz and Butuan cities. Of course, I did it here in Cagayan de Oro city, too. And that also paved the way for me to love this Ilocano recipe which I make sure is on our table at least once a week!
Here’s an easy recipe for all to try:
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pc onion, sliced
1 pc bell pepper, sliced
1 pc ampalaya, sliced
1 pc eggplant, sliced
3-5 pieces okra, sliced
5 pieces string beans, cut into 2-3”
¾ cup water
3-5 tablespoons bagoong, could be less or more
Salt or patis and pepper if desired
Enjoy and be healthy!
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on March 08, 2012.