Pinakbet mixed vegetables with anchovy sauce
Pinakbet mixed vegetables with anchovy sauce (Serves 4)
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

In this healthy Ilocano dish, bitter gourd, brinjal, okra and long beans are simmered in a tasty fish sauce – though some Filipinos prefer sautéed shrimp paste as in the photograph above. I have tasted different versions of Pinakbet but no one makes it like the Ilocanos.
My Ilocano friends, Vilma and Regina, always make impeccable Pinakbet, so I’m giving their recipe here.  Ilocanos discovered long ago that stirring bitter gourd makes it even more bitter. Do not stir the bitter gourd while it is cooking, just let the steam cook the vegetables.
If you have some fried pork rinds in your cupboard, use them as a topping.

1 small bitter gourd (255g), cut in half lengthwise, de-seeded and sliced
1 5cm piece ginger, peeled and 
125g long beans or green beans, trimmed and sliced into 2 in (5 cm
1 onion, chopped
125g fresh or frozen okra (ladies’ fingers), trimmed
1 tomato diced 
1 Japanese or Italian brinjal or globe brinjal (about 250g) cut in half lengthwise and sliced 
125ml water
3 Tbs bottled anchovy sauce or bottled sautéed shrimp paste
75g bag fried pork rinds, crushed (optional)

Place the bitter gourd in the bottom of a large saucepan, and then add the ginger, long beans, onion, okra, tomato, brinjal and sautéed shrimp paste, if using. 
Pour the water and anchovy sauce into the saucepan and bring to a boil. 
Reduce the heat to medium and cover. 
Leave for 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender and cooked. 
Do not stir, but instead, shake the pan once or twice. 
Garnish with the crushed fried pork rinds, if using, and serve hot with steamed rice. 

Recipes from The Filipino Cookbook: 85 Homestyle Recipes to Delight Your Family and Friends by Miki Garcia is available from for R213.