This is one of many classic Filipino dishes and originally is Ilocano in heritage, although there are varietie from other provinces in Northen Luzon. Ilocano would mean a native of Ilocos, or originating from that province. But like many indigenous Filipino dishes, the variety can be endless, and this depends on the availability of the local produce in that region. But this version is our OZ version as mum makes it with whatever is locally available in Sydney which is mostly everything (pumpkin, snake beans) and every once in awhile, okra.
Pinakbet was not a usual fare in our home when I was growing up, unlike the regularity of adobo which was more than once a month. Pinakbet was something more like a craving. Comfort food if you may. In our case, pinakbet is as sporadic as a lunar eclipse. Which is why, I believe it becomes a dish which is always welcomed when put on the table. Even though you guys aren't fans of pinakbet yet (as with most vegetable dishes) I know that this will be one of those dishes that will stick in your memory bank. Simply because its a true Filipino classic. Second because you love the smell of bagoong. Only a true Filipino by blood can actually take on the smell of this ingredient, commonly known as shrimp paste.
To make, you'll need
bunch of snake beans (sitaw in Tagalog), top and tail removed and cut into uniform 6-7cm lengths
quarter pumpkin, cut into cubes
1 onion, quartered
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 tomato, quartered
1-2 long green chillies (optional if your shrimp paste is not the spicy variety)
half cup shrimp paste (called bagoong and best bet is to use the Philippine brand Mama Sita. Some prefer to use alamang, but its up to you)
1 big eggpant (aubergine), cut into cubes
2 cups water
1. Saute onion then garlic until golden, but to not burn. Add the shrimp paste, then the tomato and pumpkin and saute for 5 minutes.
2. Add the water, bring to a boil then simmer for 5 minutes minutes.
3. Add the snake beans and eggplants and simmer for another 5 mintues or until eggplant are cooked.
4. Serve with rice.
Optional: You may add some pork cubes in the dish after sauteeing the onions and garlic, about 1 cup of diced pork belly. Okra is also sometimes added if availalble, like in this instance.