Every time my sister is in town, she has only one request. She would ask me to make”Ginataang Kalabasa at Sitaw“, or “Squash and Long Beans in Coconut Milk”. Over time, her request has become frequent and automatic that I don’t bother to ask her. Recently, we celebrated her birthday and sure enough, it was the vegan dish on the table for the birthday girl.
“Squash and Long Beans in Coconut Milk” is a popular Filipino dish often enjoyed with rice (make it a garlic fried rice for an even more enjoyable experience). Sometimes, it’s cooked with shrimp or pork, or shrimp paste. But my sister likes it simple -just with squash, long beans, and coconut milk as the main ingredients. Hey, works for me.
Compared to the traditional version, I do have a special way of making it. I would mash half of the squash so the flavor will blend into the soup.
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed, and minced
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
- 3½ cups coconut milk (about 2 cans)
- 2 cups peeled, deseeded, and chopped kabocha squash
- 1 cup sliced long beans (about 2-inch slices, ends discarded)
- sea salt to taste
- 3 Thai chili peppers, sliced (or more if you want extra spicy)
- 2-3 tablespoons mushroom powder (optional)
- Heat medium-sized pot over medium heat. When pot is hot enough, add coconut oil.
- Add garlic and saute until fragrant. Follow with onions. Saute until onions have softened and turned translucent. You may sprinkle salt to speed up the process.
- Pour coconut milk and add squash. Simmer for 20 minutes or until squash is soft enough to mash.
- Using the back of the ladle, mash some of the squash on to the side of the pot. You could also use a potato masher, immersion blender, or blender but I prefer the ladle for less clean up.
- Add long beans and mix.
- Season with sea salt and chili pepper. To add umami flavor, season with mushroom powder (optional but highly recommended). Adjust seasoning to taste.
- Bring to a boil then turn off heat. Serve hot, preferably with rice or garlic fried rice on the side.
Kabocha squash could be found at Asian grocery stores and some farmers markets. To easily cut and chop, warm the squash in the oven or microwave to soften the skin.
Mushroom powder could be found at Asian grocery stores, on the same aisle as mushroom and vegetable broths.
“Squash and Long Beans in Coconut Milk” is incredibly easy and simple to make. Who knows, now that the recipe is out maybe my sister will cook it herself! After all, she lives far from me and could find herself craving for it. Or, she could always drive to the Bay Area to see me, and I’d be more than happy to cook it for her again.
Jut a note: the awesome folks at Nuco Coconuts sent me their coconut products to try in my dishes. All views are my own. Most notably, Nuco sources its coconuts from the Philippines and are sustainably-grown, organic, and fair-trade, improving the livelihood of Philippine coconut farmers. For more information: nucoconut.com/nuco-story