Mommy musings

I Can Cook: Pinakbet Tagalog

Yup. Pinakbet has two kinds: Tagalog and Ilocano. What’s the difference? Primarily, they differ with the type of bagoong that is used. We use bagoong isda (fermented anchovies) for pinakbet Ilocano, while bagoong alamang (shrimp paste) is used for pinakbet Tagalog. The cooking process is also different.

While I was checking our pantry this morning before going to the market, I saw that we still had bagoong alamang (shrimp paste). Mike and Lucas both like pinakbet for one vegetable: squash. So I decided to cook that for dinner.
My mom would always cook pinakbet Ilocano and I always find it intimidating. I feel the same way towards pinakbet Tagalog every time I order it. I recently learned that pinakbet is one of the easiest dishes to cook. I’m sharing with you my version of a family favorite.

2 cups squash cut into large cubes
3 pcs eggplant, cut about the same size as the squash
A small bundle of okra, cut into half
String beans, cut into shorter pieces
2 cups small ampalaya (bitter gourd)
3 tablespoons shrimp paste
2 cups of water
1 small red onion, sliced
1 tablespoon sliced ginger
1 medium tomato, sliced
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/4 cup pork, diced into small cubes


1. Saute the “holy trinity” of veggie dishes. A.K.A. Onion, garlic, tomato. Add the ginger.
2. Put in pork and cook until it changes its color from pink to brown.
3. Put in shrimp paste and cook for about a minute.
4. Pour in water and let it boil.
5. Add the squash. Let it simmer until it turns soft.
6. Once the squash is cooked, put in the rest of the vegetables and cook for about 5 minutes and not overcooking the vegetables.
7. Serve and enjoy!


Happy weekend!


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