One of my fondest memories growing up were the weekends my brothers and I sat down to a lunch of our mother’s pinakbet. As typical as most typical kids, we were not really keen on ampalaya, eggplant and okra but we gobbled our food like there was nothing else we’d rather eat. I think it’s because we relished the fact that our mother was at the helm of the kitchen instead of the house help who did most of the cooking on weekdays. Now older, I cook my pinakbet just like hers~ with plenty of succulent pork belly amidst a colorful slew of long beans, bittermelon, eggplant, okra and calabasa. Paired with fried fish and mounds of steamed rice, this vegetable stew makes one hearty and delicious dinner meal. Enjoy!

images (95)Pinakbet
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Yield: 4 Servings
    • 1 tablespoon oil
    • 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
    • ½ pound pork belly, cut into 1-inch cubes
    • 1 tablespoon shrimp paste
    • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
    • 2 cups water
    • ½ small calabasa, peeled and cut into pieces
    • 6 to 8 okra, ends trimmed
    • ½ bunch long beans, ends trimmed and cut into into 3-inch lengths
    • 1 ampalaya (bittermelon), seeded, halved and cut into 1-inch thick
    • 1 large eggplant, ends trimmed and cut into 1-inch thick
    • salt and pepper to taste
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  1. In pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring regularly, until limp and aromatic. Add pork and cook, stirring occasionally, until meat is lightly browned. Add shrimp paste and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for about 3 to 5 minutes or until shrimp paste begins to brown. Add tomatoes and cook, mashing with back of spoon, for about 5 minutes or until softened and have released juice.
  2. Add water and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes or until meat is tender. Add more water in ½ cup increments as needed to maintain about 1 cup of liquid.
  3. Add squash and cook for about 2 minutes. Add okra, long beans, ampalaya and eggplant. Continue to cook for about 4 to 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender yet crisp. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

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