Fork Spoon Knife is the personal blog of Asha where she chronicles her journeys in food through stories, recipes and photographs. She can also be found doodling and sharing her experiences as below.



Farm to Table: Filipino Ginataan using Summer Squash

Ginataan Kalabaasa

July 22, 2010 Update: This post was featured on FoodBuzz Top 9 today

Welcome to another edition of the Farm to Table series. This week, I am drawing inspiration from Filipino cuisine to showcase my ingredient of choice - Summer Squashes. Althea and I chose Ginataan as the theme, this month, for the Kulinarya Cooking Club.

General background on the dish from Wiki - Ginataan, alternatively spelled guinataan, is a Filipino term which refers to food cooked with gata- the Filipino word for coconut milk. Literally translated, ginataan means "done with coconut milk". Due to the general nature of the term, it can refer to a number of different dishes, each called ginataan, but distinct from one another.

It was as if they were made to be. I could not decide what type of ginataan to make and kept putting off making it. Then, last week, I found squashes in my CSA basket; Gorgeous, summer yellow, lovely flower shaped squashes. I later found out that they were called Scallop Squashes or Patty Pan Squashes. They were just perfectly formed, with not a single blemish on their soothing yellow skin.

Summer Squash

They were perfect for making Ginataan Kalabaasa, a coconut curry dish made with squash and shrimps. I waited for another week to collect enough quantity of the squash to make the curry. The squashes stay fresh refrigerated for a week or so. So, when this week I got, if possible, even more gorgeous squash, I was just ready to cook them into this flavorful Filipino dish.

I cook the squash with the skin as the skin has a lot of nutritional value and I grew up eating squashes skin on. I also find that leaving the skin helps to not over-cook the vegetable and hence retain some texture (it is a soft veggie!). However, if you don't find the skin very appealing, well.. that's your choice!

As to serving it, you can puree the curry (without the shrimps) and serve as soup garnished with sauteed shrimps or leave it chunky, as I did, and serve with rice or noodles. Also, the shape of the scallop squash is nicely suited to make a serving bowl in itself. Smaller ones can be use to serve a chicken and squash salad, perhaps as an appetizer.

Ginataan Kalabaasa 2

Verdict: The ginataan is a wonderful flavorful curry that is really easy to make. From what I read, it is also versatile and can be made with a variety of proteins. In my ginataan, I did use shrimps which did enhance the flavor but I must say the curry itself is so full of flavor that it would make a fantastic vegetarian version (just skip the prawns)!

For more ideas on cooking fresh, seasonal produce, please click on the "Farm to Table Series" tab above.

Also, I would like to leave a reminder for the Does My Blog Look Good In This (DMBLGIT) July 2010 contest that I am hosting. You have until midnight of the 20th of this month to send me your entries. Meanwhile, check out the awesome clicks of contestants in the online photo album.

Ginataan Kalabaasa
(adapted moderately from

2 lbs (1 kg) squash, cut into cubes
1/2 lb (1/4 kg) shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 ripe tomatoes, diced fine
2 medium onions, diced fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 inch chunk of ginger
2-3 dried red chili peppers
1-1/2 T red curry paste
3/4 cup thick cocunut milk
2 cups water
2 T plum sauce
1 small stalk of lemon grass
salt to taste and oil as needed

In a wok, heat the oil and roasted the chilli peppers. Saute the onions, garlic and ginger until translucent. Add the red curry paste and fry for a minute. Add the tomatoes, squash, salt, coconut milk, lemon grass and water. Bring to a boil and then simmer on a lower flame until the squash is just cooked. Add the plum sauce and stir. Then add the shrimp and cook for a few more minutes until the shrimp is cooked.

Serve over rice or noodles garnished with scallions.


Kulinarya was started by a group of Filipino foodies living in Sydney, who are passionate about the Filipino culture and its colourful cuisine.

Each month we will showcase a new dish. By sharing these recipes, we hope you find the same passion and love for Filipino Food as we do.

If you’re interested in joining the Kulinarya Cooking Club, please leave a comment in this post. Also, check out the KCC Facebook page for news, updates and to browse through what everyone in the club created this month.


  1. Hi Asha! Those little scallop squash are so darn cute! How fab is it to receive such a variety of produce! The squash with prawn guinataan that you made is a great twist to our humble dish. I love the addition of the noodles. Not that common to eat ginataan with noodles but I LOVE the idea

  2. Very interesting blog you have here. Love the photos on your blog. The first photo is just awesome. Nice bright colors and well made triangle. Lot of awesomeness.

    Glad to have found you here. I am hooked to this place. Your food photos are real eye candy :).

    Thanks for sharing with us.

  3. Excellent Asha! Wonderful pics and good take on your version of ginataang kalabasa:)

  4. We had the same food thought, Asha! I made mine with butternut squash and long beans. Great idea to pair this with noodles.

  5. Wonderful post, Asha! Gorgeous photography, and great use of gata. I'm with the other: love the use of noodles here. That'd make a perfect cold weather meal.

  6. are you sure you're not a filipino hahaha.. but your version of kalabasa is wonderful... and the mere fact that you put kalabasa in your post makes want to believe that you're definitely a local LOL!

    great post as always asha!


  7. These squash are so cute, no wonder that they are so inspiring! This dish looks absolutely delicious, and I want to try it soon, haven't had a chance to try Filipino food yet :-)

  8. The squash are so pretty and the noodle dish (though new to me) is something I know I would enjoy. GREG

  9. It looks so fresh and tasty. I love your little bowl.

  10. Wow, thanks for the education on Filipino food! This dish looks amazing, I think if I was eating it I would definitely lick my bowl. ;)

  11. Oh my that curry looks so good! Those squashes are picture perfect and I quite like the idea of prawns in this.

  12. Thank you so much for picking this. Great recipe. I have only had savory ginataan a handful of times. This is a must try.

  13. Very refreshing photos!!!

    Props shopping in Bangkok? No problem, do visit and you are always welcome :-)

    Sawadee from Bangkok,

  14. Very interesting, it's new for me. Your photos are always very appetizing

  15. This looks ridiculously good. These are also my favorite squash--I can eat them raw with the skin on. They've got a really nice mellow flavor with a little bit of sweetness. Good choice!

  16. oh yum! I like this curry a lot. A new dish to me :)

  17. This really seems to be just the thing I'd love! I am a huge fan of pattypan squash, and coconut milk, and curries...yum!

  18. You've done a great job with this month's theme. Looks delish

  19. Love your take on the ginataan.. your shots are so inviting=;) I love patty pans, i've not seen them in the market yet. I usually stuff them, will try them on my stews or ginataan when i get the chance. Well done to you and Althea!

  20. love your curried ginataang kalabasa..I'm sure its' delicious and I think even without any meat/seafood, it'll still taste great..

    I love coconut milk, thanks for choosing it as this month's KUlinarya theme! :)

  21. yum! I wish my CSA had squash ready. We're *almost* to the summer vegetables but not quite.

  22. what a beautiful presentation and it sounds so tasty--I love anything with coconut milk!

  23. I love anything ginataan, and this is especially stunning, it's almost too pretty to eat!

  24. What a wonderful job showcasing a Filipino dish. Congrats on your Top 9, too!

  25. Hey Asha! So kind of you to drop by the RGB today to say hello. :)

    Just wanted to let you know that I REALLY enjoy your Farm to Table Series - and look forward to following along.

    Have a great week!


  26. Great post, and I adore this dish:)


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