Pinakbet vegetables; shown are bitter melon, calabaza squash, okra, eggplants, string beans, and chili
Authentic Bulakan Pinakbet Pinakbet (La Familia of Baliuag)
Pinakbet or pakbet is an indigenous Filipino dish from the northern regions of the Philippines. Pinakbet is made from mixed vegetables steamed in fish or shrimp sauce. The word is the contracted form of the Ilokano word pinakebbet, meaning "shrunk" or "shriveled". The original Ilokano pinakbet uses bagoong, of fermented monamon or other fish, for seasoning sauce, while further south, bagoong alamang is used. The dish usually includes bitter melon. Other vegetables used include eggplant, tomato, okra, string beans, chili peppers, parda, winged beans, and others. Root crops and some beans like camote, patani, kadios are also optionally added. The young pod of marunggay is also added. It is usually spiced with ginger, onions, or garlic. A Tagalog version usually includes calabaza. Most of these vegetables are easily accessible, and are grown in backyards and gardens of most Ilokano households. As its name suggests, it is usually cooked until almost dry and shriveled; the flavors of the vegetables are accentuated with shrimp paste. In some cases, lechon, chicharon, or other meats (most commonly pork) are added.
Pinakbet is similar to the Provençal (French) vegetable stew ratatouille except for its sauce.
Dinengdeng is a term usually used by Ilocanos pertaining to any vegetable dish. Though different, dinengdeng is often used interchangeably with pinakbet. Yet, these two are different in terms of procedure in cooking and even in terms of ingredients.