Home Drinks & Food General Drinks & Food How to Make Nanay’s Filipino Ilocano Pinakbet

How to Make Nanay’s Filipino Ilocano Pinakbet

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Written by ManfredSnelling   

Pinakbet is a favorite Filipino dish with varied versions of it in different regions in the Philippines. This dish, which came from the word “Pinakbbet” which means “shriveled”, originated from the Ilocos Region. Using the available vegetable produce grown in the northern region of the Philippines, the Ilocano version is among the easiest to cook and surprisingly one of the most interesting food preparations in the country.

The distinct taste of the Ilocano Pinakbet is particularly contributed by spices that are endemic or native in Philippine soil, such as the pungent aroma of Philippine garlic, lasuna or native onions and ginger. For the Ilocanos, rich or poor, this is a delicious and healthy dish they would not miss serving anytime, anywhere.


¼ kilo pork belly, separate the fat and the lean meat and cut in small cubes

1 tablespoons oil

3 tablespoons bagoong (fish paste)

½ teaspoon of salt

½ cup water

6 pcs. medium size okra

2 pcs. medium size eggplant, cut in bite sizes

2 pcs. medium size young ampalaya (bitter melon), cut in bite sizes

4 pcs. string beans, cut in three inches long

1 head native garlic, crushed and pealed

1 head red native onion, chopped

1 tablespoon of ginger, crushed

1-2 tomatoes, hand crushed

May be added:

2 tablespoons of sitcharo (snow peas)

1 medium size patola (Philippine Luffa), peeled and cut in bite sizes

2-3 green finger pepper


A. Cooking the Meat

Cook the fat portion of the meat in a few spoons-full of water into a small wok. Put a dash of salt to taste.

Cover it until water is gone and fat is toasted and has produced some oil.

Set the toasted fat aside.

Put in the lean portion of the meat into the wok and let it fry with the oil in the wok. Added oil if not enough and put a dash of salt to taste.

When the lean meat is cooked, put back the toasted fat and stir it in for thirty seconds.

Set aside.

B. Cooking the vegetables

Put in the ½ cup water and all vegetables, starting with the longest to cook (ampalaya) to the easiest (eggplant) inside a pot.

On top of the heap, put the native garlic, native onions, ginger and the fried, toasted pork with the remaining oil and bagoong.

Bring to boil for 7-10 minutes on medium fire. Do not open the lid of the pot more than twice until it is cooked.

(This is the most interesting part) Just before removing it from the fire, turn the Pinakbet by flipping it twice inside the pot or until all the ingredients are mixed together. The reason for this is to avoid destroying the cooked vegetables if a ladle is used.

Put back the pot to the fire for about a minute. Then serve. 

Tips and Warning: While Pinakbet is generally a healthy food, proper diet must still be observed especially for those who are controlling in salt and fat intake.

– traditionally, Ilocanos use bagnet or Ilocano chicharon (pork cracklings). To create a semblance of this, one can prepare the meat by a frying technique:

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