Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Cooking pinakbet in the US

Pinakbet is a vegetable dish in the philippines. I am not very familiar of the exact region it originated from but just like any pinoy dish it will be prepared differently depending on cook.

To me pinakbet would be defined as a dish with the following ingredients:

Onions, garlic and tomatoes sauteed
String beans
Ampalaya ( bitter melon/ gourd )
Red sweet peppers

My mom makes use raw shrimp shells and head to be used as the base of the stock for liquid added to the dish. Then almost all the time, she seasons the dish with shrimp paste.

I enjoy having this dish, and i find it very healthy if you add less sodium like minimizing the amount of shrimp paste or salt. But I add ginger and coconut milk each time I cook it, I wanted my own style.

To me there is no real way to cook it, so now that I am in the US I use substitutes to prep this dish. Back in the east coast, I discoved butternut squash to substitute the creaminess of the usual squash. And lately, if string beans are not yet in season I use my favorite snow peas.

I realized that when you try to be creative in your cooking, you will still be able to enjoy old time favorites when you substitute. You'll never know, it might even be more that what you hoped for.