Vegetarian Pinakbet

>> October 5, 2011

My taste bud's been missing a lot of my favorite Filipino dishes lately. I can't cook them since they all have meat in them. You can't have tinola without the chicken, sinigang, caldereta, dinuguan, binagoongan, and sisig without pork or beef.

I kept thinking of famous Filipino dishes that doesn't involve any amount of meat that my head started to ache, when I suddenly realized, hey why deprive myself of my Filipino favorites when I can try cook them without the meat? I certainly can't cook my top favorites I mentioned earlier without the meat, but that shouldn't stop me from trying to cook my other favorites, meat free right?

Pinakbet is one of my favorites. I used to order it in every Filipino restaurants we dine in each time. It's always on the table! Pinakbet have shrimp paste and pork, but I skipped those two in this recipe, replaced the pork with tofu to make it vegetarian friendly.

- 1 firm tofu, fried and chopped in to cubes
- 1 small red onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 200g Kalabasa, chopped in to cubes.
- 100g Ampalaya (bitter gourd), deseeded and sliced
- 4-5 pcs Okra, sliced in two (or three if it's long)
- 100g String beans, cut about 2 inches long
- 1 pc long eggplant, cut in to 4 parts
- 2 pcs tomatoes, quartered
- 2-3 tbsp soy sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- salt and pepper

Note : To remove some of the ampalaya's bitterness, rub it with salt and let it sit there for 10-15 minutes and then rinse it.

1. Parboil the Kalabasa, careful not to overcook. Set aside.
2. Heat oil in a pan and fry the chopped eggplants, turning to the other side when it's slightly browned. Do not over cook.
3. Heat oil in a wok. Saute garlic and onion until garlic is almost golden brown and onion is soft.
4. Add the ampalaya and stirfry for about 15 seconds.
5. Add the sliced okra and tomatoes and stir fry for another 15 seconds.
6. Add the kalabasa and fried eggplant, and string beans. Mix well.
7. Pour 1/2 cup of water and 3 tbsp of soysauce. Mix well.
8. Sprinkle salt. The original pinakbet is sauteed with shrimp paste which makes it salty, so gradually adjust the saltiness to imitate the saltiness of the shrimp paste.
9. Stir fry for a few more minutes until you see the colors of the veggies become vibrant. If it gets too dry, just add another half a cup of water and adjust the saltiness accordingly.
10. Lastly, add the fried tofu. The tofu is used to replace pork in the dish.

Serve it with hot steamed rice.

Serves 3-4 heads.


Cherodactyl November 3, 2011 at 5:22 AM  

Sinigang happens to be my favorite dish, and the pork version is what I grew up on. But ever since I became a pescetarian, I've been making the shrimp version for myself at home. I'm sure replacing shrimp with tofu cubes would work just as well? I will try it and let you know how it goes!

Marvie Yap November 4, 2011 at 10:21 AM  

I think Shrimp would be a perfect replacement :). Let me know how it goes! And thanks for dropping by :)

Jizelle June 16, 2014 at 6:45 PM  

I was searching for vegetarian pinakbet and saw this AND discovered another Filipina living in The Netherlands! :)

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I work and live at night time. I am a person deprived of natural light. I rarely cook in the morning as I'm almost always asleep, else busy with house chores. As much as I love natural light in my photography, I'm afraid I don't usually have that luxury, unless I sacrifice my sleep, or make an effort to stay up longer during the day to do a cooking + photo session. So I depend on my flash, and sometimes, available light from my fluorescent bulbs. Although, in my opinion, nothing beats the natural light, I am, so far, satisfied with my shots using my flash that I learned to love.

I always look forward to the weekends for some sunlight.

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