Pakbet or pinakbet guisado is a popular and modified version of the authentic pinakbet. Although the ingredients are the same, the manner of cooking is guisado. Instead of strategical boiling of the vegetables, this version is sauteed in pork fat (generated from cooking the other main ingredient, pork belly) and added with a generous serving of Ilocos bagnet or ‘Chicharon Camiling’.
Eggplant, 2 lbs
Bittermelon, 2 lbs
Sweet potato or yam, 2 lbs
Tomato, 1 lb
1 small can of tomato sauce
Bagoong monamon, 1/8 of a cup
Okra, 1 lb
2 tablespoons of minced garlic
Half cup of white onion
Sliced Pork belly, 2 lbs
Preparation of the vegetable is as important as cooking it. The shape and size must be bigger than usual to not overcook. Timing, cookware, variety of vegetables used are the different factors to consider when cooking pinakbet.
Vegetable Cutting Procedure
1) Peel the sweet potato. Cut into big chunks around 1″ by 2″. Do not cut too small because they easily crumble once cooked. Soak in water while preparing the rest of the vegetables.
2) Cut the bittermelon. Clean out the seeds. Cut into half-inch sticks. To those who prefer it less bitter, soak in brine water for 15 minutes or more.
3) Cut the eggplant. If it is the round variety just slice a little bit on top. If it is the asian long ones cut into 3 slices and slice the top part making sure the two halves are still jointed on the lower part. Just like the sweet potato also soak in water to prevent darkening of the cut vegetables.
4) Mince the tomatoes. Keep the juice and seeds.
5) The okra just needs to be washed and cleaned on top. Do not cut the head. The seeds will spill out once cooked if the top is cut.
Pork Belly Preparation
1) Boil chopped scallions and pork together. Wait until pork is tender. Remove from broth then cut into bite-size pieces in such a way that fat, skin and meat are evenly distributed in each slice.
2) In a thick pan with splatter cover, pour little oil. Once ready, fry the pork. Turn over when necessary. Wait until both sides are brown. This can be dangerous as oil splatters can burn the skin. If available buy already cooked bagnet or crispy pata as an alternative. Set aside when done. Keep the oil for next step.
1) Using the remaining pork fat, saute garlic and onions. Mix the tomato. Pour a cup or two of pork broth. Wait until the tomato is melted.
2) Throw in the sweet potato.
3) Once the potato has changed color, put the eggplant.
4) Put the bittermelon. Do not disturb and cover.
5) Once the other vegetables are 80 percent ready, put the bagoong, tomato sauce, pork belly and okra.
6) Simmer for another 5 minutes.
There you go! Pakbet guisado is now ready!
TIP: The pinakbet is best enjoyed the same day it is cooked. Not recommended for tomorrow’s baon.