"Kaukau" is a pidgin slang word meaning "food" or "to eat." The Hawaiian term for food is `ai. The two theories on the origin of the word "kaukau" are the Hawaiian word for table, pâkaukau, and the Chinese word for food, chow chow. In Hawaii we say "We go kaukau!", I would say, "I hungry I like kaukau!" or "Let's kaukau!" The Cuisine of Hawaii is a fusion of foods brought by immigrants to the Hawaiian Islands, particularly of Portuguese, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Polynesian etc.
2 tablespoons bagoong (Filipino fish sauce) or harm ha (Chinese fine shrimp paste)
1/2 cup water
2 cups long beans, in 2- to 3-inch pieces
1/4 lb sweet peppers
2 long bittermelons cut in 3-inch pieces
1 pound whole okra pods
2.5-ounce bag chicaron (fried pork rinds) or fresh sitsaron or lechon kawali.
Soak eggplant in water and Hawaiian salt for 30 minutes then drain.
Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add dried shrimp to hot, dry pot. Add dash of water to lock in flavor. Layer tomatoes, onion, ginger, garlic, salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon bagoong over shrimp. Add water. Reduce heat and simmer until tomatoes are soft, 3 to 5 minutes.
Add long beans and stir gently. Cover and cook until beans are half-done, about 3 minutes.
Layer bittermelon, eggplant and okra in pot. Break pork rinds into bite-sized pieces; sprinkle over top. Add remaining 1 tablespoon of bagoong and a little more water, if needed.
DO NOT STIR! True Ilocanos never stir the pinakbet in the pot. Because it would smash the already tender veggies.
Cover and simmer until vegetables settle, about 10 minutes. "Intalta" -- turn the ingredients by lifting, tossing, and shaking the pot. Cover and simmer 5 minutes. Serves 8.
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Pinakbet or pakbet is a popular Ilokano dish, from the northern regions
of the Philippines, although it has become popular throughout the
archipelago. The word is the contracted form of the Ilokano word
pinakebbet, meaning "shrunk" or "shriveled". The original Ilokano
pinakbet uses bagoong, of fermented monamon or other fish, while further
south, bagoong alamang is used. The basic vegetables used in this dish
include native bitter melon, eggplant, tomato, okra, string beans, chili
peppers, parda, winged beans, and others. Root crops and some beans
like camote, patani, kadios are also optionally added. The young pod of
marunggay is also added. It is usually spiced with ginger, onions, or
garlic. A Tagalog version usually includes calabaza. Most of these
vegetables are easily accessible, and are grown in backyards and gardens
of most Ilokano households. As its name suggests, it is usually cooked
until almost dry and shriveled; the flavors of the vegetables are
accentuated with shrimp paste. In some cases, lechon, chicharon, or
other meats (most commonly pork) are added. It is considered a very
healthy dish, and convenient in relation to the harsh and rugged, yet
fruitful Ilocos region of the Philippines.
The vegetable dish
pinakbet is more than a regional cuisine. It is an enduring symbol of
the Ilokano palate and a lucid display of the Ilokanos' history of
contestations and struggles with the physical and social environment.
The recipe weaves intimations of the cultural productions of the
Ilokanos' transaction to their arid and less productive land. (Caday,
Pinakbet is similar to the Provençal (French) vegetable stew ratatouille except for its sauce.