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.
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.
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.
(adapted moderately from here)
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.