Imagine tasting the wonderful flavor of coconut milk, vegetables, and seafood in every bite, wouldn’t that be heaven boiling in your tongue? Add to it a spicy taste that would accentuate the rest of the flavors in your mouth (that is if it doesn’t send you running for water). That is Pinangat, a wonderful delicacy in the Bicol Region of the Philippines.
If you ever wonder which of the many people in the Philippines would eat spicy chili peppers for snacks, then all you ever have to do is visit the Bicol Region.
The locals are called bicolanos, and are known to be a people who have a rooted fear of spicy chili peppers out of their chests. One spicy specialty bicolanos are known for is their ever-famous Pinangat.
Pinangat is part of Philippine cuisine that espouses coconut milk as a major theme. It is reminiscent of other dishes from the neighboring pacific islands. Since the Bicol Region in the Philippines is a large producer of coconuts, a major theme among the local cuisine is based on coconut milk (locally known as gata).
Pinangat is made from local “gabi” leaves (i.e. taro). Every neighborhood in the Bicol Region will have these planted nearby. These leaves will either be sun dried or cooked fresh to become a major ingredient in almost every bicolano delicacy including Pinangat.
Other than gabi leaves, coconut milk, and chili peppers, the succulent flavor of Pinangat won’t be complete without the tasty seafood that makes this delicacy a huge hit in the local cuisine of the Philippines.
You can use crabmeat, fish meat, or shrimp meat to make Pinangat. At times, when you get to visit the Bicol Region in the Philippines, you might even be treated by the local folks to Pinangat with shark meat (expect killing sharks to be illegal in the Philippines though).
Pinangat is simply made by wrapping your favorite seafood meat, chili peppers, onions, garlic, and spices in gabi leaves. This is sometimes tied up using gabi leaves that are cut lengthwise into strings, but it’s totally up to you if you want to do it that way.
The vegetable wrap (Pinangat) is then set aside while the coconut milk is set to a boil. Once the coconut milk is brought to a boil the vegetable wraps are dropped in. You let the whole thing boil over adding salt to taste until the vegetable wrap has absorbed most of the coconut milk.
And that’s how to make the Bicol Region’s famous Pinangat. Just prepare yourself for a tasty meal that sends you begging for water.