|Today's letter is P.|
Pinakbet. What a chicken says when it wants to gamble? Nope.
Pinakbet. An Ilocano dish with eggplant, bittermelon, tomatoes, and long beans? Yep, that's it. If I happen to have kabocha squash and/or okra, I'll throw some into the mix, too. Depending on my mood, I'll make it with or without pork. On rare occasions, I'll go classic and add a bit of bagoong (fermented, finely ground fish or shrimp). I say rare because that stuff is very salty. Click here for a photo of what pinakbet looks like.
How do you pronounce pinakbet? I say pin-auk-bit. But, you must realize that I don't have an Ilocano accent. Never had.
Pinakbet is one of my favorite dishes. When I was growing up, the mama cooked it often during the summer. Except for the onions and garlic, all the vegetables for the dish were freshly picked out of the daddy's garden. I have yet to eat a version that has topped or even come close to the mama's. And, now, the mama's pinakbet is a lovely memory. The dish has too many ingredients to prep that the mama is tired before she starts cooking it.
A few weeks ago, I had a yen for pinakbet and decided to make it when I saw a decent looking Italian eggplant at the grocery store. This essentially is what I threw together, adding some veggies that the mama froze last summer. (Note: Because I don't use salt, I add a lot of garlic.)
- about 1/2 pound of pork, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 5 garlic, minced
- handful of chives, minced
- 1 can of cut tomatoes (I would've used 3 or 4 medium tomatoes, if I had fresh ones)
- 1 medium Italian eggplant, cut into 1-inch pieces (I think Japanese eggplant tastes better in pinakbet.)
- 1/2 kabocha squash, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 pint size bag of frozen long beans, cut into about 2-inch pieces (probably equivalent to 5/8 pound)
- 10 small frozen bittermelons
- Black pepper to taste
- Brown the pork in a large sauce pan.
- Add the onions and stir until softened.
- Stir in the tomatoes, garlic, and chives. Also add black pepper to taste. Cover and simmer for a few minutes. (If I were to add bagoong, here's where I would stir in a solution made of about 1/8 teaspoon bagoong and 1/3 cup of water.)
- Add the eggplant and squash. (Also add the bittermelon, if everyone will be eating it.) Add a 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water, if it looks like the food might burn. Cover the pan and simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Add the long beans, and gently mix everything together. Cover the pan and simmer for about another five minutes. I know the dish is done when the eggplant and kabocha are cooked.
- The husband cannot handle bittermelon, so I prepare the frozen bittermelon separately. I microwave it with some of the sauce from the pan for about 2 to 3 minutes. I then mix the bittermelon into the mama's and my bowls of pinakbet. I will also add salt to the mama's portion.
To read other "P" posts in Alphabe-Thursday, hosted by Jenny Matlock, head over to here. I hope you do.