The Newbie Cook
- 16,486 forkfuls since 16.Oct.10
Making everything for the first time
When I was a kid, I thought that “adding more color to your diet” meant buying a bag of skittles or m&m’s. Now I know that this is what it really means:
Ginataang kalabasa is a Filipino dish that has always been a favorite since childhood. There are different variations — my mom made it with yardlong beans and shrimp. For this recipe, I’m using 96% extra lean ground beef. Hubby is not a fan of lean ground beef because he said it lacked flavor. He likes the regular everyday 80% lean. Personally, the fat content scares me and I’m tired of draining the beef while cooking. With extra lean, I don’t have to drain it.
Since this dish is very flavorful, I don’t think my husband would be complaining about blandness.
There is one must-have ingredient in this dish: the glorious bagoong alamang. My mom’s province, Pangasinan, is famous for having some of the best tasting alamang on earth. Unfortunately, I don’t have access to that goodness so I resorted to second best: jarred bagoong. There are no close Asian stores with this so I bought it online from Amazon. The jarred version isn’t as pungent either, which is a good thing since I live with an American husband who was completely traumatized with the smell of danggit.
(Ugh, super dry skin. That’s what happens when I wash my hands every single step while cooking.)
Filipinos also love coconut milk aka gata in Tagalog. We have tons of food that start with “ginataang,” which means that whatever it is has been stewed in coconut milk. Like our lovely Jersey butternut squash.
Luckily for me, my husband likes Filipino food so I don’t have to argue about having variety in our daily menu.
I served this with white rice and sautéed spinach and garlic. See recipe after the jump.
(Butternut Squash with Coconut Milk)
Makes 4 servings
1 tablespoon canola oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced
½ medium onion, chopped
½ pound certified 96% extra lean ground beef
2 tablespoons shrimp paste (bagoong alamang guisado) [suggested store brand: Barrio Fiesta]
1 13.5 oz can lite coconut milk
1 tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 medium butternut squash (about 2 pounds or 3 cups), peeled and cut in 1-inch cubes
salt and pepper
In a wok or stir-fry over medium fire, heat pan, add oil, and saute onion for a minute. Add garlic and saute until the onion turns translucent.
Crumble the ground beef and fry until all the pink is gone. When using lean meat, there is very little fat so draining is not necessary.
Add the the shrimp paste and stir.
Pour in the whole can of coconut milk and stir well. Cook until it boils.
Add the parsley and squash cubes in the pan and stir. Cover and lower the heat down to a simmer. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until the squash is cooked. Don’t let it get mushy but it should be soft enough to spear it with a fork.
Uncover. Add salt and pepper according to taste.
Serve over cooked white rice.
Per serving: 244 calories
Add white rice: 121
Add 1 cup (chopped in 2-inch lengths) yard long beans or string beans: +43 calories
Add these along with the squash.
Add 1 bunch spinach (chopped with lower stems cut off): +78 calories
Spinach takes less time to cook so add these around 7 minutes before the squash is fully cooked.