Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My version of "Pinakbet"

It's always hard to cook for one sometimes. I would rather cook for several than for one, so that I may have others to enjoy the foods with, AND to get positive or negative feedback. (Sidenote: That totally reminded me of my MCDB classes...ah the positive and negative feedback loops.) Ok, derailed a bit, but like I said, it's nice to get feedback. Recently it's been my mama who's had to sample some of my eats and she approved of this one.

There was still leftover delicata squash and like Elise, it's now become my favorite squash. It's very flavorful and easy to cook, and cleave in half, but the thing that gets me excited is that the skin peels off really well after it's been baked. So with the delicata in mind, I thought that I could incorporate it with my already peeled and deveined shrimp from the night before. I prepped the shrimp ahead of time for moments just like tonight. What else to add? Well, I had my snow peas and Indian eggplants, so my taste buds were formulating a craving for this dish called pinakbet or pakbet for short.

I believe this might be a Kapampangan and Tagalog dish, but that's only because those are the Flips in my household and that's who I've seen make it. Pakbet normally consists of long string beans, calabasa (the regular orange squash), eggplant, shrimp (and sometimes pieces of pork) flavored with shrimp paste. I wasn't too keen on recreating all of that, so I tailored my pakbet a little.

Here's what I used:
  • 9 medium size peeled and deveined shrimp
  • a handful of snow peas
  • 3 Indian eggplants sliced
  • 1/2 baked delicata squash, diced
  • 1 clove of crushed garlic
  • a smidgen of shrimp paste
  • salt
Here's my prepping of the snow peas and eggplants:

Oh ya, make sure you take off the ends of the snow peas because it tends to be quiet chewy and not the most pleasant of chomping experiences. I love the cute mini eggplant discs...hehe

Easily peel-able delicata...

Then I threw in the crushed garlic (which may actually be more like 2 or 3 cloves) in my wok with hot vegetable oil. I let that simmer a bit and then put the shrimp on. I really was only going to have 8 shrimps, but then with my mama as the taste tester, I put in 9 so that I could have 4 shrimps for dinner tonight and 4 for my lunch tomorrow, plus the one for mama makes 9. Operation Moderation yo!

See the little straggler on the upper right? Ya, he was a mistake, but a pretty good one to keep it fair for my meal tonight and tomorrow. After these were a good pink hue, I took them off the wok and placed the veggies in. I cooked them for a bit before adding the shrimp paste on. I literally added like a thumbnail looking amount in the wok. I didn't want the shrimp paste flavor to be over powering, nor did I want it to be too salty since I added salt to the shrimp, but I did want that pinakbet flavor.

Pretty huh? I plated this over a decently sized portion of steamed white rice and saved the rest for tomorrow's lunch.

This was just the hint of pinakbet flavor I needed. I think my parents were a bit impressed, well maybe not so much impressed, but I think they're proud that I'm trying to revamp some of these Filipino dishes. There's something to be said when the veggies you're biting into are still colorful and crunchy. I feel like veggies are more enjoyable, and to add, flavorful, when it's not all dilapidated and brown, right? That said, I welcome other cultural inspired eats that you've added a slight variation to. Cheers!

1 comment:

  1. What a great revamped version of pinakbet - it's much more presentable and healthier when vegetables aren't overcooked! I don't get the Filipino resistance to crunchy veggies.