While researching about ratatouille, I realized that it is very similar to a Filipino dish called pinakbet. Some of the ingredients vary, but it’s the same thing- it is a tomato and vegetable medley. Some add meat, but I prefer it without. Another noticeable difference is the sauce; French ratatouille is flavoured with herbs, while pinakbet uses bagoong or anchovy sauce. The latter can smell a little funky, but just like the fruit durian. You should not judge it because it is absolutely delicious.
6 small bitter melons
8 pieces of okra
1 head garlic, minced
6 ripe medium sized tomatoes
5 tablespoons anchovy sauce (bagoong) or fish sauce (patis)
3 tablespoons of oil
2 cups water
Slice the bitter melons into 1-2 inch thick pieces and soak in water. Do the same for the eggplants. Slice the tomatoes in half and remove the seeds. Set aside.
In a casserole, sauté garlic in oil for 1-2 minutes. Pour water into the pot. Add the tomatoes and bagoong. Let it simmer for 10 minutes or until the water is about to boil.
Drain the bitter melons and eggplants. Add them to the pot of boiling water, include the okra. Cover and cook for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft, but do not overcook. Add more bagoong if desired.
Serve warm with rice.
Photo Courtesy Of: naotakem