This is Pinakbet. Pinakbet or pakbet is an indigenous Filipino dish from the northern regions of the Philippines. The flavors of the vegetables are accentuated with shrimp paste. Pinakbet is made from mixed vegetables simmered in fish or shrimp sauce. Enjoy this recipe from all of us at Filipino Chow.


  • 1 pound of large, whole, head-on shrimp
  • 1 piece large talong (eggplant), sliced into 1-inch thick diagonal pieces
  • 1/2 pound of okra, ends trimmed
  • 1 piece of large ampalaya (bitter melon), halved, deseeded and sliced into 1-inch thick diagonal pieces
  • 1/2 pound of sitaw (string beans) stalks, ends trimmed and cut in 3 inches length
  • 1 pound of kalabasa (squash), peeled, deseeded and cut into chunks
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium-sized onion, sliced
  • 1 piece of large-sized tomato, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons of oil
  • 3 tablespoons of bagoong alamang (shrimp paste)
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • Ground pepper


  1. Remove the shells from the shrimp, then devein them.
  2. Now remove the heads from the shrimp and set them aside.
  3. Put all the shrimp heads in a strainer then crush shrimp heads using a mallet.
  4. Put 2 cups of water in a saucepan then bring it to a boil.
  5. With the shrimp heads still in the strainer, steep them in the boiling water.
  6. Boil the shrimp heads for about 2 minutes or until you have extracted all the juice from the shrimp heads.
  7. Then remove the shrimp heads from the broth and discard them.
  8. Take the broth off of the heating element then set the broth aside.
  9. Heat a skillet with 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat.
  10. Saute the shrimps for 2 minutes or until they turn pink in color.
  11. Transfer the cooked shrimps to a plate and set aside.
  12. Using the same skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil.
  13. Saute garlic followed by the onions.
  14. Cook until onions are translucent.
  15. Add the tomatoes and saute for about 2 minutes.
  16. Add the shrimp broth you set aside earlier and bring to a boil.
  17. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  18. Add the squash and cook for 10 minutes or until texture is soft.
  19. Now add the remaining vegetables and stir to mix the ingredients together.
  20. Next add shrimp paste and mix again.
  21. Season with sugar and pepper as desired.
  22. Simmer for about 10 minutes or until all the vegetables are cooked, but not overcooked.
  23. Add more water if desired.
  24. Now add the shrimps back to the pan and stir to mix it all together.
  25. Transfer the pinakbet to a serving dish to cool.
  26. Serve with steamed white rice and enjoy!

If you want a tender and earthy sweet taste of the squash cook the squash a little longer because the more overcooked the squash is, the better your sauce will be. Since it is too soft, it will blend in with the sauce and that makes the sauce tastes better. But do not overcook the rest of the vegetables. I also added fresh shrimp broth to the sauce by crushing the shrimp heads and then steeping the heads in boiling water. That adds even more shrimp flavor to your pinakbet.


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