Bowl of Vegetable Stew
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Vegetable Stew
Philippines - Ilocos
  -   Pinakbet
Makes
Effort:
Sched:
DoAhead:  
3 #  
***
1 hr  
Prep
This stew emphasizes vegetables, and this version is vegetarian (except for Shrimp Paste). Of course, in the Philippines almost nothing is made vegetarian. See Comments for non-vegetarian and pure vegetarian versions.




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Kabocha Squash (1)  
-- Vegetables
Okra, small
Vinegar
Bitter Melon (2)  
Tomatoes
Onion, red
Garlic
Ginger Root
Eggplant, thin (3)
Zucchini, small
Yellow Squash
Long Beans (4)
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Bagoong (5)  
Water
Prep   -   (55 min)
  1. Peel an seed KABOCHA and cut into 1 inch cubes.
  2. Stem OKRA very close to the cap but leave whole. Tumble with vinegar to coat and set aside until needed, tumbling now and then. This reduces splitting.
  3. Cut BITTER MELON in half lengthwise, remove seed mass and slice shell a little less than 1/4 inch thick. Tumble with salt and let sit until needed, tumbling now and then.
  4. Scald TOMATOES 1 minute in boiling water, quench in cold water, peel and chop coarse.
  5. Quarter ONION lengthwise and slice crosswise about 1/4 inch thick. Crush GARLIC. Slice GINGER very thin and chop very small. Add all to Tomatoes.
  6. Slice EGGPLANT into 3/4 inch thick rounds and cut any larger rounds in half. Immediately put in a bowl of water acidulated with citric acid or lemon juice to prevent browning.
  7. Slice ZUCCHINI into 3/4 inch rounds if thin. If larger, cut rounds in half. Cut Yellow Squash similarly. Add both to Tomatoes.
  8. Cut LONG BEANS 1-1/2 inches long. Add to Tomatoes.
Run   -   (25 min)
  1. Rinse Bitter Melon and Okra. Drain Eggplant. Tumble together all Vegetables items.
  2. In a stew pot or similar, spread Kabocha in the bottom.
  3. Mash Bagoong in 1 cup Water until there are no lumps. Pour over the Kabocha.
  4. Layer Vegetable mix, over the Kabocha. Bring up to a boil, then cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or until vegetables are just tender. Do not overcook. The vegetables should still have some bite. Watch the Okra, if it threatens to be overcooked, you're done.
  5. Serve hot accompanied by steamed Jasmine rice.
NOTES:
  1. Kabocha Squash:   Other winter squash can be used, but Kabocha (usually called "pumpkin" in Asian cookbooks) is particularly good, and widely available.
  2. Bitter Melon:   [Ampalaya (Philippine)]. Use the common Chinese variety, not the more warty Indian variety. They should be quite green - not yellowing, and seeds with no more than a tinge of pink. For details see our Bitter Melon page.
  3. Eggplant:   Japanese, Chinese, Philippine, Italian or Indian Eggplants are fine. If all you have is big Globe Eggplants is all you have, you will have to peel them. For details see our Eggplants page.
  4. Long Beans:   these have a darker flavor and different cooking properties than Green Beans. Use Green Beans only if Long Beans are unavailable. For details see our Long Beans page.
  5. Bagoong:   This should be Ginisang Bagoong (Bagoong Guisado), the brown fried version. For details see our Shrimp Sauce / Paste page. Various fish sauces are also used (usually the murky fermented ones).
  6. Method:   Since stirring is forbidden, not all vegetables in the pot will be in full contact with the liquid, so, at the end of cooking I invert the pot into a large bowl and toss very gently. The contents then go back into the pot to keep warm or into a slow cooker for buffet service.
  7. Comments:   The recipe as given is vegetarian enough for people who accept minor seafood content (shrimp paste). Pure vegetarians will need to replace that with salt to taste, and accept some loss of flavor. In Ilocos, slices of Bagnet (deep fried pork belly) line the bottom of a big clay pot, and vegetables are carefully layered over it. Other versions stir fry pork belly in some oil until golden brown, then set it aside until near the end of cooking. This dish is often garnished with Chicharrónes (pork rinds).
  8. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
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