On Friday, my oldest came over to spend the afternoon with us. It was a perfect time because both my husband and I had taken the day off from work. My son joined us for lunch at our favorite Japanese restaurant and then for dinner, I made some of his favorite Filipino dishes. I made 7-up marinated pork chops, deep fried battered prawns and pinakbet.
Pinakbet is a popular Filipino dish which traditionally consists of pork and mixed vegetables, cooked and flavored with shrimp paste. Vegetables like string beans, squash, okra, bittermelon and eggplant are commonly used for this dish. In this recipe, I used shrimp instead of pork. What do I love 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. Enjoy!
- 3 tbsp avocado or vegetable oil
- 1 lb medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
- 1/3 cup sautéed shrimp paste plus 1 teaspoon to flavor shrimp
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 thumb-size ginger, peeled and julienned
- 1 lb banana squash, peeled, deseeded and cubed
- 1 cup water
- 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)
- ½ lb fresh okra
- ½ lb green beans, ends trimmed
- 1 tomato, cut into wedges
- 2 serrano peppers (optional)
- Kosher salt
Heat one tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the shrimp and cook until pink, about 2 minutes. Stir in a teaspoon of shrimp paste. Transfer cooked shrimps onto 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 3 minutes.
Add the eggplant, bittermelon, okra and beans. Cover and let simmer for another 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Make sure to stir the mixture occasionally.
Add the cooked shrimps, tomato and serrano peppers, if using; gently stir and correct seasonings with salt to taste.
Serve with steamed rice.