Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Ginataang Kalabasa at Sitaw (Filipino Squash and Long Beans in Coconut Milk)

In honor of Marvin of Burnt Lumpia's recent appearance on tv, I decided to finally post my recipe for Ginataang Kalabasa at Sitaw (Filipino Squash and Long Beans in Coconut Milk). (And whoohoo! I'll take credit for him very, very briefly mentioning Vietnamese food on tv. ;) That's one of the nicest aspects of food blogging -- learning about another culture through food. Beyond pancit noodles and lumpia egg rolls, my knowledge of Filipino food was very limited. But through Burnt Lumpia, I'm finding that there's actually quite a few similarities with Vietnamese food. Both cuisines have sour soups, sinagang = canh chua ca (Vietnamese sour fish soup). Both have shrimp paste, bagoong = mam ruoc. Both have coconut milk desserts, halo halo = che. So one evening back in November, when UnHipLA said she ate really yummy Filipino food and had leftovers, I told her to come on over. The lumpia and calamari (I'm sure my readers can tell me the proper Filipino word for this.) were good but nothing unusual. It was the squash in coconut milk with green beans, spinach, and fresh large chili peppers that really made me take notice. While I could see what the ingredients were and could probably figure it out on my own, a little Googling turned up some recipes as well as the name of the dish. I used the last of my precious sugar pumpkins that I had frozen for this recipe but it was so worth it. This recipe can easily be vegetarian by omitting the shrimp and substituting plain salt for the shrimp paste and fish sauce. Although the flavor is largely because of the shrimp paste and fish sauce. :P Ginataang Kalabasa at Sitaw (Filipino Squash and Long Beans in Coconut Milk) Adapted from Filipino Recipes For a 2-quart pot, you'll need: 1 lb squash cut into 2-inch chunks, or thick slices About 1 cup green beans As many shrimp as you'd like, peeled and deveined 1 to 2 cups of baby spinach leaves 1 16-oz can coconut milk 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 small onion, diced 1 small knob of ginger 1 tblsp shrimp paste (mam ruoc or bagoong) fish sauce, to taste Optional: I didn't have any on hand when I made this recipe, but I recommend adding fresh chili peppers. Look for large-sized varieties like the orange and white kind. Halve and de-seed them. If you're using a fresh squash, microwave for 5 to 8 minutes until softened and easy to cut into. Peel rind and cut into 2-inch chunks or thick slices. Don't shake the can of coconut milk. Skim the cream off the top and set aside. In a wok or saute pan on high heat, add a few drizzles of oil and saute garlic and onion until softened. Add shrimp paste and mash until combined. Add squash and quickly saute. Then pour the mostly clear coconut milk into the pot. Fill the can with water to rinse out the last bit of coconut milk and pour that into the pot as well. Turn heat down to medium-low and let simmer for 15 minutes to half an hour. The consistency should be similar to a thick Thai curry. Check to see if squash is softened and liquid is reduced. Add fish sauce to taste. When squash is softened, add the coconut cream that had been set aside, along with the shrimp, spinach, and green beans and let simmer another 5 minutes or so until shrimp is cooked and flavors have combined. You can also add fresh chili peppers at this point if you wish. Serve with rice. Enjoy! So Marvin and Dhanggit, how'd I do for my first attempt at Filipino cooking? And yay! I can now add Filipino to my recipe index. :) I'm submitting this recipe to Weekend Herb Blogging, a world-wide food blogging event created by Kalyn's Kitchen celebrating herbs, vegetables, or flowers. If you'd like to participate, see who's hosting this week. WHB is hosted this week by Zorra of Kochtopf. ***** 1 year ago today, a mini tour of Chinatown, Los Angeles.


  1. Sounds delicious. I also have some pumpkin in the freezer...

    Thank you for your participation in WHB. Roundup should be online next Monday.

  2. That looks great! I love coconut flavor, so this must taste heavenly!

  3. Rich and delicious--completely satisfying! I have to try this one!

  4. yummmm good idea! i will try this soon. maybe i can add beancurd puff for some volume...

  5. Zorra,
    Thanks! It's nice to know I'm not the only one who freezes squash. :)

    I've only recently become a fan of coconut.

    I hope you do.

    Bean curd puffs are yummy!

  6. These flavours sounds great. I'm not a shrimp person, guess I'll have to try a veggie version of this!

  7. It sounds wonderful to me. The only Filipino dish I've ever tasted is Chicken Adobo. You do come up with the most interesting dishes!

  8. For your first attempt at Filipino food, it looks awesome! And thanks for all the love!

  9. Kaykat,
    I think it'll still taste great without shrimp.

    Just trying to show a variety of food.

    Thanks and you're welcome.


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