SPICEGASM.COM My travel tales and food hunting

May 19, 2010

My version of Pinakbet

Filed under: Food,Philippines,Recipe — Alex @ 2:29 pm

For dinner tonight, I wanted to eat some greens. So I decided to make my version of Pinakbet. Instead of using bagoong, I am using belacan. The picture on the left is belacan. It looks like chocolate but it smells and tastes no where near your favorite Hershey chocolate bars. We Asian love to eat food that smells funky. The best way to describe belacan is, smells like shit but taste like heaven. That’s what I normally tell my Westerner friends. Belacan is made of tiny shrimps and prepared with some special process. I am not sure how it is done but you can find out via wikipedia if you would like to know more.

I have tasted Pinakbet but I think it tasted all right. But since I am used to having some spiciness in all my dishes, I find the Pinakbet lack the “Oommph” factor. So I decided to make some modification by switching bagoong with belacan. I am aware that bagoong is also made of tiny shrimp but I think the taste of belacan is way stronger. I also decided to add one labuyo ( bird eye chili ) to give the missing spiciness. Lets get down to business shall we.

I decided to add some meat for this dish as well. I do not have shrimp but I do have some pork in my freezer. Cut the pork into tiny bits and try to get the part with the fats. After cutting into tiny cubes deep fry it. Keep the oil for later to fry the vegetables as it will make the vegetables taste better. Tasty food is also unhealthy and I am not that health conscious honestly. I personally believe that if you exercise and indulging in fatty food once in a while is all right. And if fate decided to cut short a few years of my life, at least I can go happily coz at least I’ve tried tasty food in my lifetime. No point living up to 90 years and the diet is the same as the cow in the farm. ( I am poking fun at those who always eat salad with minimal dressing ).


  • Kangkung ( Morning Glory )
  • Bitter Gourd
  • Pumpkin
  • Eggplant
  • Okra or some call it Ladies Fingers
  • Long Beans ( Cut to 3 inches long )
  • Fried pork cubes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • One onion slice thinly
  • One chili
  • One small cub of belacan and soak it with half small cup of water
  • Salt


  • Get the oil that we fried the pork cubes earlier ( 5 spoonful )
  • Sauteed the garlic and follow with onions and chili
  • Half teaspoon of salt
  • Put the belacan that is soak in water ( It will dilute by now and looks like mud water )
  • Stir for few seconds and put in all the vegetables
  • Keep stirring till vegetables are slightly soft and cooked. Make sure it is not too cooked or it will be too soft and lost all it’s nutrients
  • Finally add the pork and mixed it well
  • Voila….Pinakbet ala Alex is ready to serve.

I think the entire meal just cost me 60 pesos and is good for 4 person. Is very important to use big flames when cooking vegetables. If the fire is too low, the process to cook the vegetables will take long time and it will become really soft and lost it crunchiness. Most Chinese restaurant can cook a vegetable dish in less than 3 minutes I believe. The taste is good and the texture is still crunchy and cooked. But most house stove is not really designed to have big flames.I have never really tried cooking using those extreme big flames as I believe, one gotta train for it. Movements need to be fast or else the vegetables will be burn because of the big flames if we are slow.

The problem with this recipe is that belacan is not available in the Philippines. This is why I hope that one day I can make it available to you. It will definitely make your Pinakbet stands out compared to what Filipino are accustom too. I would not want to offend anybody by saying belacan is better than bagoong but I can guarantee you at least it will taste different. You can be the judge if ever you get the opportunity to try this dish. But I did get a comment from a Filipino that it taste better than the MAX’s version…hehehehehe.

2 responses to “My version of Pinakbet”

  1. lexy says:

    hello good day , im lexy , may i ask where can i buy belacan here in philippines ? i stay in cavite,, i like to try that belacan recipe so pls help me find belacan here thankz and godbless

    • Alex says:

      I am not sure where belacan is being sold….but if you like….you can email me your contact or address, I can ask my friend in Cavite to send it to you. She happens to have extra belacan after I gave her quite a few packets. I am just happy to introduce this good stuff to the Philippines. My email is alex@spicegasm.com


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