EVER tried pinakbet cooked in gata (coconut milk)? I grew up eating pinakbet because my late Gua-kong (maternal grandfather) settled in Tayug, Pangasinan, and we kids always spent our summer vacations there. Our late cook, Manang Huling, also hailed from there and therefore often cooked pinakbet for our meals. In the course of my career in the publishing industry, specializing in food, I would learn about the many variations of pinakbet—Ilocano pinakbet (ampalaya, squash, okra, eggplant, string beans and siling pansigang, cooked with bagoong na isda); Pinakbet Tagalog (vegetables cooked in bagoong alamang or shrimp paste, and topped with lechon or chicharon); Bulacan pinakbet; Pinakbet Bisaya, etc. But I have never encountered pinakbet cooked in coconut milk…
… until the other day, when my caregiving assistant Belen Carasaquit and I were discussing what other vegetable dishes she could prepare besides the Ginisang Ampalaya and Tortang Talong that I always ask her to make so I do not have to cook so often. She mentioned “pinakbet na may gata,” and my attention was totally caught.
So, this morning, after feeding my husband Raff and then having late breakfast, we finally made Guinataang Pinakbet—and here it is.
2 Tbsps. vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pc. small onion, sliced
3 slices ginger, julienned
1 cup water
1 segment squash, peeled and cut into bite sizes
2 pcs. small eggplants, cut into bite sizes
5 pcs. string beans, cut into 2-inch lengths
10 pcs. okra, halved
1 pc. small ampalaya (bittergourd), halved, seeds scraped and sliced
1 cup gata (coconut milk)
4 pcs. dried flying fish (or other types of dried fish)
1. Heat oil in pan. Sauté garlic, onion and ginger.
2. Pour in water and let boil.
3. Add squash, eggplants, string beans and okra. Let boil.
4. Add ampalaya.
5. Pour in gata. Mix up vegetables.
6. Top with dried fish. Cover and allow to cook for a few minutes.