Monday, October 13, 2008

At home - Pinakbet (Asian Vegetables in Shrimp Paste Sauce) & Pork Chops

My idea of the perfect Pinakbet is quite far from what is served outside my home. It seems not a lot of care goes in the preparation of this dish in some households. What should be a wonderful medley of vegetables usually turns out to be some watery ash coloured mash that is barely edible.

The bright green colours of the okra, snake beans and bitter gourd are virtually wiped out.
The pumpkin and the eggplant are obliterated into nothingness pureed together with the rest of the overcooked vegetables.

I never serve Pinakbet on its own. For dinner we also had Pork Chops, my way.
We didn’t have any okra and snake beans so I substituted string beans.


Garlic chopped (as much as you like)
1 medium sized Onion chopped
1 large tomato chopped
A bit of pork (prawns can be substituted)
2-3 Tablespoons Shrimp paste
Snake beans
Bitter gourd
Oil for sautéing
A bit of oyster sauce
Salt or Fish sauce to taste

1. If you’re going to use prawn you can skip this step. Heat up some oil. Stir fry the pork until they’re done. Remove from the pan and set aside.
2. In the same pan (with still the oil left in it) sauté the garlic until golden brown.
3. Add the onions and cook until it is translucent.
4. Add the tomatoes together with a bit of salt (or fish sauce), some oyster sauce and the all important shrimp paste.
5. When the tomatoes are cooked add the pork back in (or the fresh prawns) and cook for about a minute or so.
6. Add the pumpkin and the eggplant (as they are the longest to cook). If the mix is too dry add a few tablespoons (not cups of!) of stock or water.
7. Before the eggplant and the pumpkin are completely cooked add the okra and the bitter gourd.
8. To keep the colour of the beans cook them in the microwave for about a minute and immediately refresh in cold water.
9. Add the beans to the mix about a minute before turning the heat off.

Kidpawan’s Easy Pork Chops
Pork Chops
White Pepper
All purpose flour
Oil for frying

1. Season the pork chops with salt and white pepper.
2. Season the flour with salt and white pepper as well.
3. Heat up the oil in high heat for quick cooking to avoid rubbery pork chops.
4. Coat the pork chops in the seasoned flour shaking off any excess.
5. Fry the pork chops in high heat. They’re done when they’re golden brown.
6. Drain excess oil.
7. Serve with the Pinakbet and some jasmine rice.

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