Pinakbet Recipe Hawaii

Tropical Fusion Delight: Learn How to Make Pinakbet Hawaii-Style with Fresh Veggies, Shrimp, and Creamy Coconut Milk Sauce!

Pinakbet Recipe Hawaii

    Pinakbet Recipe Hawaii

  • Cuisine: Filipino - Hawaiian fusion
  • Category: Main dish
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Servings: 4
  • Calories: 350 calories

About this recipe

Today, I will tell you all about Pinakbet! Picture a delightful Filipino dish that's a real celebration of fresh, vibrant vegetables and rich, savory flavors. Pinakbet is a vegetable medley that's truly a feast for both your eyes and your taste buds.

In its essence, Pinakbet is a traditional Filipino dish that hails from the northern regions of the Philippines. It's like a veggie party on a plate, showcasing an array of locally-grown produce. The star of the show is usually a mix of vegetables like bitter melon (ampalaya), eggplant, squash (often kabocha or calabaza), long beans, and okra, among others.

To make Pinakbet, you start by sautéing garlic, onions, and ginger in a little oil until they release their mouthwatering aromas.

Then comes the starring cast of veggies, which are cut into bite-sized pieces and added to the pan one by one. The colors and textures combine into a symphony of taste and presentation.

Now, here's the real magic: the seasoning. Filipinos love bold flavors, and Pinakbet is no exception. It gets its umami punch from shrimp paste (bagoong) or fish sauce (patis). These add depth to the dish and create a beautiful balance with the natural sweetness of the vegetables.

But we're not done yet! To give Pinakbet that distinctive touch, there's one more crucial ingredient - coconut milk. This velvety, creamy addition takes the dish to another level, adding a touch of tropical indulgence and mellowing out the strong flavors.

Now, remember how I mentioned it's a vegetable medley? Well, it can also be a "seafood medley" if you like! Adding shrimp to the mix is a popular variation and adds extra deliciousness. You can either cook the shrimp with the vegetables or pan-fry them separately and add them later. Either way, it's a winner!

When everything's cooked to perfection, Pinakbet is ready to be served. It's typically enjoyed with steamed rice, providing a delightful contrast between the tender vegetables and fluffy grains.

Pinakbet is not just a dish; it's a cultural treasure. It's a testament to the Philippines' agricultural richness, and every region puts its own spin on it, making it a culinary kaleidoscope of flavors.

So, whether you're a veggie enthusiast, a seafood lover, or just someone looking to explore new cuisines, Pinakbet is a must-try. It's a wholesome, flavorful adventure that brings a taste of the Philippines right to your plate!

Recipe origin and background

The origin of the Pinakbet recipe in Hawaii is rooted in the historical migration and cultural exchange between the Philippines and Hawaii.

During the early 20th century, there was significant migration of Filipino workers to Hawaii to work in the sugarcane and pineapple plantations. These Filipino immigrants brought their culinary traditions with them, including the beloved Pinakbet dish.

As the Filipino community settled in Hawaii, they adapted their traditional recipes to incorporate local ingredients that were readily available on the islands. Hawaii's diverse agricultural landscape provided a variety of vegetables similar to those used in Pinakbet, such as bitter melon (ampalaya), eggplant, squash, beans, and okra.

Furthermore, coconut milk was also an abundant and widely used ingredient in Hawaiian cuisine, so it was naturally incorporated into the Filipino dishes.

Over time, this fusion of Filipino and Hawaiian ingredients and culinary techniques gave rise to the Pinakbet Hawaii-style recipe. The dish retained its essence as a vegetable medley with bold flavors, but it took on a unique Hawaiian twist with the addition of coconut milk and the incorporation of local seafood, like shrimp, which is abundant in Hawaii.

Today, Pinakbet Hawaii-style remains a popular and cherished dish among both the Filipino and Hawaiian communities. It's a beautiful example of how food can bring together diverse cultures, creating something new and delicious in the process.

The fusion of Filipino and Hawaiian influences has resulted in a mouthwatering dish that pays homage to the heritage of the Filipino people while also celebrating the richness of Hawaii's culinary traditions.

Why try this Pinakbet Recipe Hawaii recipe?

You should definitely try the Pinakbet Hawaii-style recipe because it offers a unique and delicious fusion of flavors that is both comforting and exotic. Here are some compelling reasons to give it a go:

  1. A Culinary Adventure: Pinakbet Hawaii-style is a culinary adventure that introduces you to the best of both Filipino and Hawaiian cuisines. It's a delightful fusion of two rich culinary traditions, providing you with a taste that is unlike anything you've tried before.
  2. Fresh and Healthy Ingredients: The dish is primarily made with a medley of fresh and vibrant vegetables, making it a healthy and nutritious choice. It's a great way to incorporate a variety of nutrient-rich veggies into your diet.
  3. Unique Flavors: The combination of coconut milk, savory shrimp or shrimp paste, and the blend of vegetables creates a symphony of flavors that will surprise and delight your taste buds.
  4. Tropical Touch: The addition of coconut milk gives the dish a tropical touch, making it feel like a mini-vacation in a bowl. The creamy and nutty flavors complement the vegetables perfectly, transporting you to the sunny shores of Hawaii.
  5. Versatility: While the recipe suggests using certain vegetables, you can be creative and adapt it to include your favorite veggies or what's in season. It's a versatile dish that allows for customization to suit your taste.
  6. Cultural Appreciation: Trying Pinakbet Hawaii-style allows you to appreciate the cultural exchange between the Philippines and Hawaii. It's a reminder of the history and heritage of Filipino immigrants who brought their culinary traditions to the islands.
  7. Family and Community Tradition: Pinakbet is not only a delicious dish but also holds sentimental value for many families and communities. By making it, you can connect with and embrace the cultural significance and history behind the recipe.
  8. Great for Sharing: Pinakbet Hawaii-style is a colorful and impressive dish that is perfect for sharing with friends and family. It's an excellent addition to potlucks, gatherings, and celebrations.
  9. Expand Your Palate: Trying new cuisines and flavors is a wonderful way to expand your palate and broaden your culinary horizons. Pinakbet Hawaii-style offers a unique taste that will leave a lasting impression.

So, if you're up for a delightful adventure into the world of flavors, cultures, and culinary history, trying Pinakbet Hawaii-style is a fantastic choice. It's a dish that brings people together and leaves a lasting memory of deliciousness!

What does Pinakbet Recipe Hawaii taste like?

The taste of Pinakbet is a delightful combination of flavors that is both savory and slightly sweet with hints of bitterness and umami. It's a dish that offers a harmonious balance of tastes, making it a unique and satisfying culinary experience.

The vegetables in Pinakbet, such as bitter melon, eggplant, and okra, contribute to its distinct flavor profile. Bitter melon, as the name suggests, adds a mild bitterness, which is balanced out by the natural sweetness of the other vegetables like squash and tomatoes.

The addition of shrimp (in the Hawaii-style version) or shrimp paste/fish sauce (in the traditional version) provides a rich umami depth to the dish.

The coconut milk plays a significant role in enhancing the overall taste. It adds a creamy and slightly nutty flavor, providing a tropical touch to the dish. The combination of coconut milk and savory seasonings creates a luscious sauce that coats the vegetables, infusing them with rich flavors.

When all the ingredients come together and meld during the cooking process, the resulting taste is a wonderful blend of earthy, sweet, and savory elements. The dish is meant to be hearty and satisfying, perfect for enjoying with steamed rice to help balance the flavors.

It's important to note that the taste of Pinakbet can vary slightly based on the specific vegetables used, the proportion of ingredients, and the cook's seasoning preferences. Some people may prefer a more pronounced bitterness from the bitter melon, while others may choose to balance it with a touch of sweetness or adjust the saltiness to their liking.

What is in Pinakbet Recipe Hawaii?

  • Bitter Melon (Ampalaya): Bitter melon is a green, oblong-shaped vegetable with a bumpy surface. It has a slightly bitter taste that adds a unique flavor to the dish.
  • Eggplant: Eggplant is a purple-skinned vegetable with creamy flesh. It adds a smooth texture and mild taste to the dish.
  • Kabocha Squash or Calabaza: Kabocha squash or calabaza is a sweet and dense orange-fleshed squash that complements the other vegetables in Pinakbet.
  • Long Beans or Green Beans: Long beans or green beans add a fresh and crunchy element to the dish.
  • Okra: Okra is a green vegetable with a slimy texture when cooked, which helps thicken the sauce in the dish.
  • Fresh Spinach or Kangkong Leaves: Fresh spinach or kangkong leaves (water spinach) are leafy greens that add a vibrant color and a tender texture to the Pinakbet.
  • Cherry Tomatoes: Cherry tomatoes are small, sweet tomatoes that provide bursts of flavor and color in the dish.
  • Cooking Oil: Cooking oil, such as vegetable oil or canola oil, is used to sauté the vegetables and enhance their flavors.
  • Garlic: Garlic adds a wonderful aromatic taste and depth of flavor to the dish.
  • Onion: Onions contribute to the savory base of the Pinakbet.
  • Ginger: Ginger provides a zesty and slightly spicy note to the dish.
  • Shrimp (optional): Shrimp are added for a seafood variation of Pinakbet Hawaii-style. They bring a delightful sweetness and a burst of umami to the dish.
  • Fish Sauce (Patis): Fish sauce is a staple in Filipino cuisine and adds a savory umami taste to the dish.
  • Oyster Sauce: Oyster sauce complements the other seasonings and adds a rich, savory flavor.
  • Soy Sauce: Soy sauce enhances the overall savory profile of the dish.
  • Brown Sugar: Brown sugar provides a touch of sweetness to balance the bitterness of some of the vegetables.
  • Coconut Milk: Coconut milk adds a creamy and tropical element, elevating the flavors of the vegetables and making the dish truly Hawaiian in style.
  • Salt and Pepper: These common seasonings are used to taste and adjust the dish to your preference.

Equipment required for this recipe

  • Large Wok or Pan: A large wok or pan is ideal for cooking Pinakbet since it provides ample space for sautéing the vegetables and mixing them with the sauce. A deep skillet or frying pan can work as a substitute.
  • Cutting Board and Knife: A sturdy cutting board and a sharp knife are essential for chopping and slicing the vegetables.
  • Wooden Spoon or Spatula: A wooden spoon or spatula is useful for stirring and mixing the ingredients while cooking.
  • Measuring Spoons and Cups: Measuring spoons and cups are handy for accurately measuring the ingredients, especially the seasonings.
  • Ladle: A ladle is useful for scooping and serving the Pinakbet.
  • Possible substitutes: If you don't have a ladle, you can use a large spoon or a heat-resistant measuring cup.
  • Cooking Timer or Smartphone Timer: A cooking timer or a smartphone timer is useful to keep track of the cooking time for each vegetable.
  • Mortar and Pestle (optional): A mortar and pestle can be used to crush garlic and ginger to release their flavors. If you don't have one, you can mince the garlic and ginger using a knife.
  • Strainer (optional): If using shrimp with shells, a strainer can be used to rinse them before cooking. Alternatively, you can peel the shrimp beforehand.
  • Steamer (optional): If you prefer steaming certain vegetables, a steamer can be used. However, it's not necessary, as the vegetables can be cooked in the wok or pan directly.
  • Rice Cooker: Though not directly used for cooking Pinakbet, a rice cooker is handy for preparing steamed rice to serve with the dish.

How to make Pinakbet Recipe Hawaii

Indulge in Pinakbet Hawaii-style, a flavorful Filipino-Hawaiian veggie medley with shrimp & coconut milk. A fusion delight in every bite! 🌴🍤 #PinakbetHawaii


  • 1 small bitter melon (ampalaya), sliced and deseeded
  • 1 medium-sized eggplant, sliced
  • 1 cup kabocha squash or calabaza, cubed
  • 1 cup long beans or green beans, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup okra, trimmed
  • 2 cups fresh spinach or kangkong leaves
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, julienned
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (patis)
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Prepare the vegetables by washing and cutting them into the specified sizes.
  2. In a large wok or pan, heat the cooking oil over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and sauté until fragrant.
  3. Add the sliced onion and julienned ginger to the pan. Continue to sauté until the onion becomes translucent.
  4. Add the shrimp to the wok and cook until they turn pink and opaque. Remove the shrimp from the pan and set them aside.
  5. In the same wok, add the cubed kabocha squash and bitter melon slices. Cook for a few minutes until they start to soften.
  6. Add the long beans and okra to the pan. Stir and cook for another couple of minutes.
  7. Pour in the fish sauce, soy sauce, and oyster sauce over the vegetables. Mix well to evenly distribute the flavors.
  8. Add the cherry tomatoes to the wok and gently stir to incorporate them.
  9. Pour in the coconut milk and let the mixture simmer for a few minutes until the vegetables are cooked through but still slightly crisp.
  10. Return the cooked shrimp to the pan and mix them with the vegetables.
  11. Season with brown sugar, salt, and pepper to taste. Adjust the seasoning according to your preference.
  12. Add the fresh spinach or kangkong leaves to the pan and cook briefly until they wilt.
  13. Once everything is cooked and well combined, remove the wok from the heat.
  14. Serve the Pinakbet Hawaii-style hot with steamed rice.

How to serve Pinakbet Recipe Hawaii

  1. Prepare Steamed Rice: Before serving Pinakbet, make sure you have steamed rice ready. You can use white rice or brown rice, depending on your preference.
  2. Transfer the Pinakbet to a Serving Dish: Once the Pinakbet is cooked to perfection, use a large spoon or ladle to transfer it from the wok or pan to a serving dish. Make sure to get a good mix of vegetables, shrimp (if using), and the flavorful coconut milk sauce.
  3. Garnish (Optional): To add an extra pop of color and freshness, you can garnish the Pinakbet with some chopped green onions or cilantro. This step is optional but can enhance the overall presentation.
  4. Serve Hot: Pinakbet is best served hot, so make sure to bring it to the table while it's still steaming and aromatic.
  5. Serve with Steamed Rice: Place the steamed rice in a separate bowl or on individual plates. Pinakbet is traditionally served family-style, so you can place the serving dish with Pinakbet in the center of the table, and everyone can help themselves to the vegetables and sauce.
  6. Enjoy with Complements: Pinakbet pairs wonderfully with additional Filipino condiments like bagoong (shrimp paste) or patis (fish sauce) on the side. These condiments can be drizzled over the vegetables to add extra depth of flavor. Bagoong, in particular, complements the dish's savory profile with its umami notes.
  7. Sharing the Experience: Serving Pinakbet is not just about the food; it's also about sharing a delicious meal with loved ones. Enjoy the company of family and friends as you savor the flavors of this Filipino-Hawaiian fusion dish.
  8. Store Leftovers (if any): If you have any leftovers, allow the Pinakbet to cool down slightly before transferring it to an airtight container. Store it in the refrigerator, and it can be reheated and enjoyed for another meal.

Rated: 4.9 of 5.0 from 778 reviews.

Recipe Tags: Pinakbet Recipe Hawaii, Pinakbet Recipe Hawaii Recipe, Recipe, Easy, Homemade, Top rated

What to serve Pinakbet Recipe Hawaii with

Pinakbet Hawaii-style is a delicious and hearty dish that pairs well with a variety of complementary dishes. Here are some fantastic options to serve alongside Pinakbet to create a well-rounded and satisfying meal:

  1. Steamed Rice: Pinakbet is traditionally enjoyed with steamed white rice or brown rice. The flavorful sauce from the Pinakbet beautifully soaks into the rice, creating a delightful combination of tastes.
  2. Grilled or Fried Fish: A simple grilled or fried fish, seasoned with salt and pepper or marinated with your favorite herbs and spices, complements Pinakbet perfectly. The seafood and vegetable combination creates a wholesome and delicious meal.
  3. Grilled or Roasted Chicken: If you prefer a meat option, grilled or roasted chicken pieces make an excellent addition to the table. The mild flavors of chicken go well with the vibrant taste of the vegetables in Pinakbet.
  4. Adobo: Another classic Filipino dish that goes well with Pinakbet is Chicken or Pork Adobo. Adobo's rich and savory flavors make it a delightful companion to the vegetable medley.
  5. Filipino BBQ Skewers: Grilled Filipino BBQ skewers, usually made with marinated pork or chicken, are a fantastic addition to the meal. The sweet and savory barbecue flavors complement the Pinakbet's diverse taste profile.
  6. Lumpia: Filipino Lumpia, which are crispy spring rolls filled with vegetables and sometimes meat, make for a delicious appetizer or side dish to accompany Pinakbet.
  7. Fresh Tropical Fruits: To add a refreshing touch to the meal, serve a platter of fresh tropical fruits such as pineapple, mango, papaya, and watermelon. The sweetness of the fruits complements the savory and creamy flavors of Pinakbet.
  8. Garlic Fried Rice: Instead of plain steamed rice, you can also serve garlic fried rice (sinangag). The fragrant garlic-infused rice pairs exceptionally well with the bold flavors of Pinakbet.
  9. Filipino Pancit: Another Filipino favorite that complements Pinakbet is Pancit. It's a noodle dish often made with vegetables and meat or seafood, offering a lovely contrast to the vegetable-focused Pinakbet.
  10. Green Salad: If you're looking for a lighter option, a green salad with a tangy vinaigrette dressing can balance out the richness of Pinakbet.

My recommendations and tips

  1. Fresh Vegetables: Use fresh and high-quality vegetables for the best flavor and texture. Choose vegetables that are in season, as they tend to be more flavorful and affordable.
  2. Personalize the Ingredients: Feel free to personalize the ingredients based on your preferences and availability. You can add or substitute vegetables according to what you have on hand or what you enjoy the most.
  3. Don't Overcook the Vegetables: To retain the vibrant colors and crispness of the vegetables, avoid overcooking them. Cook until they are tender but still slightly crisp.
  4. Preparing the Bitter Melon: If you find bitter melon too bitter for your taste, you can blanch it in boiling water for a few minutes before adding it to the dish. This can help reduce its bitterness.
  5. Adjust Seasonings: Pinakbet is all about finding the right balance of flavors. Taste the dish as you go and adjust the seasonings to suit your preference. You can add more fish sauce, soy sauce, or brown sugar as needed.
  6. Deveining Shrimp: If you're using shrimp with shells, don't forget to devein them to remove the black vein running along the back. This step ensures the shrimp are clean and appetizing.
  7. Saute Garlic and Onions: Take your time to sauté the garlic and onions until they are fragrant and lightly caramelized. This adds depth to the flavor of the dish.
  8. Use Coconut Milk Wisely: If you prefer a lighter version, you can reduce the amount of coconut milk or use light coconut milk. On the other hand, if you love the creaminess, you can add more coconut milk.
  9. Serving Size: Pinakbet Hawaii-style is a hearty dish, so plan your serving size accordingly. It's usually served family-style, and you can adjust the portions based on the number of guests.
  10. Enjoy with Loved Ones: Pinakbet is not just a meal; it's an opportunity to connect with loved ones and share good food together. Invite family and friends to enjoy this delicious fusion dish with you.
  11. Leftovers: Pinakbet makes great leftovers! Store any extras in the refrigerator and reheat gently on the stovetop when ready to enjoy again.

Potential ingredients substitutes

  • Bitter Melon (Ampalaya) Substitute: If you can't find bitter melon or prefer a milder taste, you can substitute it with zucchini or chayote squash. Both of these vegetables are readily available and have a neutral flavor.
  • Kabocha Squash or Calabaza Substitute: Butternut squash or acorn squash can be used as a substitute for kabocha squash or calabaza. They have a similar texture and sweetness that complements the dish.
  • Long Beans or Green Beans Substitute: French beans (haricots verts) or snow peas can be used instead of long beans or green beans. They provide a nice crunch and are widely available.
  • Okra Substitute: If okra is not available, you can omit it or use sliced bell peppers to add some color and texture to the dish.
  • Fresh Spinach or Kangkong Leaves Substitute: Baby spinach or Swiss chard can be used in place of fresh spinach or kangkong leaves. They will wilt and blend well with the other vegetables.
  • Cherry Tomatoes Substitute: Regular tomatoes, diced into bite-sized pieces, can be used instead of cherry tomatoes.
  • Shrimp Substitute (for Seafood Variation): If you prefer a non-seafood version, you can skip the shrimp altogether or substitute it with cubed tofu or tempeh for a vegetarian option.
  • Fish Sauce (Patis) Substitute: Light soy sauce can be used as an alternative to fish sauce. It won't have the exact same flavor but will provide a savory taste.
  • Oyster Sauce Substitute: If you don't have oyster sauce, you can use hoisin sauce as a replacement. Keep in mind that hoisin sauce is sweeter, so you may need to adjust the sweetness level in the dish.
  • Coconut Milk Substitute: For a lighter version, you can use coconut cream or coconut milk diluted with water. You can also use almond milk or another non-dairy milk for a different flavor profile.

Final Remark

Experience the Best of Filipino and Hawaiian Flavors with Pinakbet Hawaii-Style! A Delectable Veggie Medley that's a True Culinary Gem. Try it Today! 🌺🥦🍤 #PinakbetHawaii

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