A common dish in Filipino cuisine, variations of mixed vegetables with coconut cream are endless with so many possible combination of vegetables. Traditionally cooked with small pieces of pork belly, the fat can be reduced considerably by using a leaner cut of pork. If you prefer seafood to pork, use prawns or squid. For a purely vegetarian, dish, simply omit the pork or seafood.
Freshly squeezed coconut cream is ideal (see post on how to extract coconut cream and milk) but, if unavailable, use canned or powdered coconut cream, the latter dispersed in water.
This is an updated version of a recipe in the archive. Now includes additional tips.
Start by preparing all the aromatics and vegetables.
Cut the string beans into 2-inch lengths.
Cut off the squash skin, scoop out the seeds then cut the flesh into 2-inch cubes.
Depending on the size of the okra (some are as short as 3 inches in length; others, as long as 5 inches), cut them into thirds or fourths. If they are large and the skins are too fibrous, peel off the skins using a vegetable peeler before cutting.
Split the eggplants into halves horizontally, then, cut into slices about 3/4 inch thick. To avoid discoloration, soak the cut eggplants in water.
Sauteeing the aromatics comes next. There really is no particular order in doing this. I like to start with the ginger and garlic, then the sliced onion and, lastly, the tomatoes.
The pork goes in next. Cooking it with the now softened aromatics gives the meat better color and texture.
Among all the vegetables in the ingredients, the yard-long beans take longest to cook so I add them to the pan first.
It is a better idea to boil the rest of the vegetables separately so that they can cook with minimum stirring to prevent them from breaking apart. If they are added to the pork, considering how little liquid they will cook in, a lot of stirring needs to be done and that may ruin the texture of the vegetables.
So, while the pork and beans cook, I parboil the okra, eggplants and squash in water, drain them and give them a cold bath under the tap. You’re not cooking the vegetables all the way at this point. They should be about 80% to 90% done and then you let them finish cooking with the pork and coconut cream.
When the pork and yard-long beans are done, add the parboiled vegetables and pour in the coconut cream. Stir then boil gently until the vegetables are cooked through. Adjust the seasonings and serve!
Here’s the printable version of the recipe for mixed vegetables with coconut cream.
Mixed vegetables with coconut cream
- 3 tablespoons cooking oil
- half a head of garlic minced
- thumb-sized piece of ginger thinly sliced
- 1 onion thinly sliced
- 3 tomatoes chopped
- 4 green (finger) chilis cut into thirds
- fish sauce to taste
- 250 grams lean pork sliced thinly then cut into strips
- 1 and 1/2 cups yard-long beans cut into 2-inch lengths
- 1 and 1/2 cups squash cut into 1 and 1/2 inch cubes
- 2 eggplants cut into wedges
- 4 pieces okra cut into thirds or fourths
- 2 cups coconut cream
- Heat the cooking oil in a wok or frying pan.
- Saute the garlic and ginger until fragrant. Add the onion, tomatoes and chilies. Season with fish sauce. Continue sauteeing until softened.
- Add the pork. Cook, stirring often, until the meat is no longer pink.
- Pour in about a cup of water and add the yard-long beans. Stir. Taste and add more fish sauce, as needed. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, parboil the squash, eggplants and okra until about 80% to 90% done. Drain. Refresh in cold water and drain again.
- Add the parboiled vegetables to the pork. Pour in the coconut cream. Stir gently. Taste and add more fish sauce, if needed. Over medium heat, allow the pork and vegetables to boil gently, uncovered, for about five minutes or until the vegetables are cooked through.
- Taste one last time and adjust the seasonings before serving the mixed vegetables with coconut cream.