Just recently, our family ate at a newly open Filipino restaurant here in Vancouver. We ordered the usual Filipino dishes like lumping shanghai, pancit palabok, sinigang na hipon, roast chicken and pinakbet.
Pinakbet is a popular dish to serve at any Filipino gathering or salu salo. It traditionally consists of pork and vegetables, cooked and flavored with shrimp paste. Vegetables like string beans, squash, okra, bittermelon and eggplant are commonly used for this dish. What do I like about this dish? The tender and earthy sweet taste of the squash, the crunchiness of the green beans, the bitter taste of the bittermelon and the slimy texture of the okra. The taste and texture of each of these vegetables contribute to make this dish a popular staple at my house
- 1 lb. medium shrimps, shelled and deveined
- 1 cup water
- 1/3 cup sautéed shrimp paste plus 1 teaspoon to flavor shrimps
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 thumb- size ginger, crushed
- 1 tomato, cut into wedges
- 1 Chinese or Japanese eggplant, sliced into the diagonal (1-inch thick)
- 1 fresh bittermelon, halved, deseeded and sliced into the diagonal (1-inch thick)
- 1 lb. banana squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into chunks
- ½ lb. fresh okra
- ½ lb. green beans, ends trimmed
- salt to taste
- Heat a skillet with 1 tablespoon oil. Sauté shrimps for 2 minutes or until it turned pink. Stir in 1 teaspoon shrimp paste. Transfer cooked shrimps to a plate and set aside.
- Using the same skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Add garlic and ginger; sauté for 1 minute. Add shrimp paste, stir for 20 seconds. Add squash and water; cover and let simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add the rest of the vegetables, cover and let simmer for another 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Make sure to stir the mixture occasionally.
- Add cooked shrimps and tomato; gently stir and correct seasonings.
- Transfer into a serving plate. Serve with steamed rice.