Pinakbet, Filipino Vegetable Stew with Shrimp Paste

11. September 2009 Vegetables + Salads 4

My father’s from Ilocos Sur in the northern part of the Philippines and pinakbet, or pakbet, is one of his specialties. It’s also one of my favorite Ilokano dishes that he makes on a regular basis. Most recently, I watched as he made a pot full of Filipino vegetables at home and wrote down the recipe he’s had in his head ever since I was young.

I love how easy this recipe is to cook. The challenge is to find an Asian grocery store that carries all the vegetables, but you can surely substitute as long as you have the shrimp paste handy. Speaking of shrimp paste, or what we call bagoong, my father has tried every brand available out there, but has only been happy with Kamayan Sauteed Shrimp Paste. Because it’s cooked, it has a darker brown color compared to the usual pink shrimp paste and it’s less fishy and salty. Once you have all your vegetables in one pot, all you need is the shrimp paste and a few minutes to stew it in water.

1 bittermelon, halved lengthwise, seeded, chopped
2 Japanese eggplants, chopped
1 pint of okra
1 small squash, harder skin removed, chopped
1 bunch Chinese long beans, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1/4 cup of Kamayan sauteed shrimp paste
1 pound shrimp, shelled, heads on

1. Put all vegetables in a large Dutch oven. Top with dollops of shrimp paste. Add 1 cup of water and let simmer, covered. When water is simmering, mix everything together, making sure that the shrimp paste gets distributed.
2. Cook for about 20 minutes or until squash is tender, adding a little bit of water to keep the stew from drying. Add shrimp during the last five minutes of cooking. Add more shrimp paste to adjust taste.

Related post/s:
Asia Food Market in Chinatown sells everything in this recipe including the shrimp paste
Try another Filipino recipe with squid
How about baby back ribs?

4 thoughts on “Pinakbet, Filipino Vegetable Stew with Shrimp Paste”

  • 1
    Stash on September 17, 2009

    That’s the first time I’ve seen pakbet with fresh shrimp. My mom makes hers with dried shrimp.

    Rest of the recipe is pretty much how my family makes it. There’s also patis in the mix.

    Okay, now I’m hungry. :)

  • 2
    avisualperson on September 18, 2009

    delicious! all my fave vegetables with one of my favorite condiments!

  • 3
    cia on September 22, 2009

    Why use dried when you have fresh, right?

  • 4
    JungMann on October 14, 2009

    I don’t think I’ve had pinakbet with shrimp. Using pork as the protein brings a lot more to the table than simply echoing the shrimp from the bagoong. The old Pistahan used to make theirs with bagnet, which was particularly decadent.

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