Ginataang Gulay

Ginataang Gulay

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Fact is, the kiddo have never seen a real coconut tree before until Laguna December 2009. No kidding, that’s true. Patawa para sa mga pinoy, hindi ba? One of the items in his to-do list last Christmas holiday was to see fruitful coconut trees. Of course, his lolo wasted no time and promised ‘em all. Tuwang tuwa naman syempre. How excited was the boy to have photos taken with them, eat delicious coconut meat and drink the fruit’s refreshingly pure water, too.

It’s been ages since I cooked anything with fresh coconut milk but my pantry is never without a can of it. Curry, ginataang adobo o simply ginataang gulay. Sarap. Here is of those days when I have freshly looking and perfectly shaped okra in the fridge. Tapos merong kalabasa at sitaw? Ano pa ba?! YUM.

No Masterchef touch here. Just cooked plain and simple, ala-eh style. Just a little more flavor from fresh coriander.


Ginataang Gulay (Vegetables Cooked in Coconut Milk)
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • ½ kilo pork belly, cut into strips
  • 4 tbsp minced garlic
  • A slice of ginger, crushed then juliened
  • 1½ cup bite-size pieces of pumpkin
  • A small bowl of long beans, cut 2½ long
  • A handful or more of okra, trimmed
  • A can of coconut milk
  • Patis (fish sauce)
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Green chili
  • Small bunch of coriander, tied together (optional)
  1. Heat oil in a pan. Fry garlic and ginger until browned and aromatic.
  2. Throw in the pork pieces and fry until browned.
  3. Add patis and saute for a minute.
  4. Add pumpkin slices and saute for another minute.
  5. Pour in coconut milk and half a cup of water. Bring to boil. Cover with a lid and simmer until pumpkin is almost done.
  6. Season with pepper and more patis if desired.
  7. Throw in long beans and okra and cover with lid. Simmer until vegetables are al dente and sauce is thick.
  8. Add chili and coriander, mix thoroughly and cover with a lid. Turn off heat and let stand for a minute. Serve hot garnished with coriander. Great with plain, steamed rice.


Lasang Pinoy, Sundays
Check out Lasang Pinoy, Sundays. Coconut.

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I am not a professional cook. My only claim to having a culinary background is a short stint as my dad’s teen ‘sous chef’ in his carinderia ages ago. Dad ran small eateries since I was a young kid - serving standard ‘turo-turo’ food ranging from the likes of menudo, adobo, pritong isda, dinuguan, binagoongan, bopis, munggo, pinakbet and giniling to merienda fares like goto, ginataan, pancit bihon, halu-halo and saging con yelo.

My father, a farmer in his hometown before working his way to becoming an accountant, definitely influenced my cooking in a lot of ways than I thought. My siblings and I were raised in a backyard full of fruit trees and vegetable garden. We spent weekends and the summer breaks running around with ducks, chickens, goats and pigs. I had wonderful memories of gathering eggs, butchering chickens, selling vegetables and the sweet aroma of preserved fruits. But my love for art led me to a degree in Architecture. Just few months after getting my license, I went abroad and lived independently at age 23. Definitely no maid, no cook, and a totally different food culture. Along the way I met lots of friends and spent what seemed a lifetime learning new tricks and recipes.

Now living in Auckland, I am a work-from-home mum who juggles time between work, fun and family - in pursuit of work-life balance. No matter how busy I am, I love the idea of cooking for my family. My blog chronicles home cooking greatly influenced by life outside my home country from Southeast Asia to Beijing and Auckland. And most of the time, being busy also means easy (sometimes quick), affordable meals.

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