I love rice and so does my husband. We try to find different ways to prepare and enjoy this wonderful food. Through time, we found hundreds of recipes, some simple and some exotic, and have enjoyed preparing them. We've found some real winners, which I have published on this blog and some that are not so great, which are in my personal "do not" repeat folder. I have created this site to share those memorable dishes - which are all about this wonderful food called "rice".

Eggplant, Bitter Melon and Okra Stew (Pinakbet)

This is a classic Philippine dish that uses shrimp paste.  You can find shrimp paste at your local Asian grocery store.  Indonesian and Thai also have shrimp paste. If you cannot find the Philippine version (bagoong), then feel free to use one of the others. The fried pork belly adds a nice texture to the vegetable and rice dish.

8oz of fresh okra
1 Bitter melon (an acquired taste; can be omitted) - cut in half, remove seeds and cut into bite size pieces.
8oz of fresh string beans
1 eggplant cut into bite size pieces
1 cup of calabasa (hard squash) - remove seeds, cut into bite size pieces
3 cloves garlic (minced)
1 medium onion (minced)
1 14oz can of plum tomatoes (chopped), save the juice
1-2 tblsp shrimp paste
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup chicken broth or vegetable broth
2 tblsp of canola or olive oil

In a large deep pan, heat the oil.  Add onions and garlic, fry until aromatic and the onions are translucent (do not allow garlic to burn).  Add the chopped tomatoes and the juice. Continue stirring until tomatoes are heated through (approximately 3-4 minutes). Add the okra and hard squash. Continue to stir for 1 minute, add the string beans, bitter melon and eggplant.  Continue stirring for 3 minutes.  Add the chicken broth and the shrimp paste stir until mixture is well combined; allow it to come to a boil. Lower heat and cover.  Allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes or until vegetables are tender but not soft.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Spoon rice into a plate or bowl, add the stew and a slice or two of fried pork belly. 

Note: To make the fried pork belly, slice the pork belly into a thin strip. Season with salt and pepper.  Fry in hot oil until it is crisp outside and inside is a pale pink. To make this vegetarian, use vegetable broth instead of chicken. Omit the fried pork belly.

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