I Can Cook Pinakbet (And Many Other Miracles)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011 Stef dela Cruz 2 Comments

I’m not much of a cook. I have one hard-anodized nonstick pan, one steel pan, and one steel pot. I don’t have vegetables in my fridge, not different cuts of pork or beef. I have enough canned goods in my cupboard to last me a year if Armageddon comes anytime soon. These, sadly, are the signs and symptoms of someone who does not cook.


But a few days ago, I decided to make my very first pinakbet, which others also call pakbet. It’s a Filipino dish that every household knows to prepare. My mom, who happens to be a great cook, rolls her eyes whenever I mention that I know nothing about cooking vegetables. The only cooking I ever do is frying and boiling – and I’ve survived years living alone with just fried meat, fried vegetables, and fried rice.


I know, yuck. I’m thin, yet I’m not fit. That’s something I blame on my rather very sedentary lifestyle and also my diet. So, with my ear glued to my cellphone and my mom on the line, I made my way through the aisles of vegetables in the supermarket and bought the ingredients to my very first attempt of cooking pakbet.




I asked for instructions from my mom. She made it sound easy. It took me ten minutes to wash and prepare the vegetables. It took me another ten minutes to cook the dish. And when I finally tasted the pakbet…


Someone slap me! Aye caramba!

It tasted like… pakbet!

Yippee! It was a huge success! My first attempt at cooking pinakbet was not a failure, contrary to what I’ve been expecting.




“Hi, I’m Stef. I can cook pakbet!”


I ate my first pakbet with gusto. It had a broth base of bagoong (fish paste), with amapalaya, eggplants, sweet peas, okra, gabi, onions, and tomatoes. I used cubed pork to flavor. I was happy that I cooked pakbet today. My tummy was glad I stopped feeding it fried whatevers, too.


Oh, yeah. I can see myself becoming a chef a year from now. Watch out, poser chefs! Stef can cook pakbet! Open-mouthed smile

Stef dela CruzAbout the blogger
Stef dela Cruz is a doctor and writer. She received the 2013 Award for Health Media from the Department of Health. She maintains a health column in Health.Care Magazine and contributes to The Manila Bulletin. Add her to your circles.


  1. hi steph, i enjoyed reading your blogs and yes as i read it your still the steph from sta catalina dorm so talented....

  2. That's sweet of you, thanks! Who's this again? I wish I knew your name - I'm sure to remember you from the dorm days!