Bagoong, a pungent, earth-colored fermented shrimp paste, lends this traditional Philippine dish a pleasing depth of flavor. Take care not to stir the vegetables aggressively during cooking, or they will fall apart.
- 2 Tbsp. canola oil
- 6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 medium red onion, roughly chopped
- 1 Tbsp. bagoong (Philippine shrimp paste)
- 3 plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 3 Tbsp. fish sauce
- 1 (1-lb.) kabocha or other winter squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1" cubes
- 1⁄2 lb. Asian eggplant, cut into 2" x 1⁄2" sticks
- 1⁄2 lb. long beans, cut into 3" lengths
- 1 bitter melon, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into 1" cubes
- 10 okras (about 4 oz.), left whole
- 15 medium shrimp (about 8 oz.), peeled
- Kosher salt, to taste
Heat oil in an 8-qt. pot over medium heat. Add garlic and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until very soft, about 15 minutes. Add bagoong and tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until paste becomes very fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add fish sauce, squash, eggplant, beans, melon, and 1⁄3 cup water. Stir briefly, cover pot, and cook, stirring once or twice, until vegetables soften, about 12 minutes.
Add shrimp and okra; cook, covered, until shrimp are just done and okra is tender, 6–7 minutes. Season with salt. Serve with steamed rice.