Pinakbet recipe

Pinakbet is a vegetable stew from the Ilocos region in the Philippines. It was derived from the Ilocano word pinakebbet, which means “shrunk,” wherein vegetables are secreted in the pot over low heat until “shriveled.” Here is an easy instruction on how to prepare it for about 45 minutes!


  • 1 tablespoon of canola oil
  • 1 piece of onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 pound of pork belly (cut into inch cubes)
  • 1 tablespoon of bagoong or shrimp paste
  • 2 pieces of tomatoes (chopped)
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1/2 portion of small kalabasa or squash (cut into cubes)
  • 8 pieces of okra or ladies’ fingers (trim end portions)
  • 1/2 bunch of long string beans, (trim ends, cut into 3 inches length)
  • 1 piece of medium ampalaya or bitter gourd (remove the seeds, cut into halves then into an inch thick)
  • 1 piece of large eggplant (trim ends, cut into an inch thick)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Recipe & Preparation

  1. Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat. Sauté the onions and garlic with constant stirring until it softened.
  2. Add in the pork and cook until it is lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Next is to add the shrimp paste until it also turns brown.
  3. Add and mash tomatoes, do not stop until tomatoes are softened and juice has been released.
  4. Add and bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the meat is tender. Add more water in 1/2 cup increments as needed to keep the liquid at about 1 cup.
  5. Add in the squash, cook for about 2 minutes, or until almost tender.
  6. Add in the string beans and continue to cook until it’s tender-crisp.
  7. Mix in the ampalaya, eggplant, and okra. Cook for another 4 to 5 minutes, or until vegetables are tender but still crisp.
  8. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  9. Serve immediately.