The one nice thing I can recollect from my dark, dank and horrible October (besides it becoming November) is this Headhouse purchase-promted dish: warm, creamy, comforting Ginataang Kalabasa.
I came home from the market one week with an irresistible sunshine kabocha. Kabocha — also known as Japanese pumpkin — is a fantastic squash variety from, you guessed it, Japan (though originally Cambodia). It has a wonderful sweet chestnut flavor that is certainly one of my favorites. The sunshine varietal doesn’t have a distinct taste profile, but it sure does look pretty, don’t you think?
On one of those cold blustery days it beckoned — “Stew me…..steeeewwww me.” So I did.
In an effort to bring the kabocha back to it’s roots, I went for a Filipino-style preparation called ginataang, which basically means “stewed in coconut milk.” The only protein I had on hand were some lovely large shrimp from Whole Foods stashed in the freezer, so the dish became Ginataang Kalabasa at Hipon — kalabasa referring to the “pumpkin” and hipon to the “shrimp.”
Aside from the initial effort needed to cleaver the kabocha in two, this is a super easy dish to throw together — under 30 minutes from squash to table. And like that’s not enough, it’s basically the culinary embodiment of the large, generous and warm Filipino mother you likely never had – well, the one I never had, at least. On a cold, blustery day, nothing could be more comforting.
Ginataang Kalabasa at Hipon
(Kabocha Squash and Shrimp Simmered in Coconut Milk)
gluten free, can be vegetarian/vegan
-1 kabocha squash,* peeled, seeded and cut into 1-1.5 inch cubes
-1 small white/yellow onion, diced
-4 garlic cloves, crushed
-1 cup broth or stock
-2 chili peppers, tops removed
-1/2 pound shrimp, shelled and deveined (can use cubed tofu to make vegan/vegetarian)
-2 cups coconut milk**
-1/2 tsp fish sauce (optional)
-Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat a wide pan coated with nonstick spray. Add the onion and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add the chicken broth, whole chili peppers (although you can split open and remove the seeds if you’d like less heat) and squash pieces – along with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and then lower to simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the squash is tender but still holds shape.
- Add the shrimp, coconut milk and fish sauce. Simmer for another 3 to 5 minutes, stirring, until shrimp is opaque.
- Serve over nice fresh rice 🙂
*Feel free to use any winter squash you have on hand!
**I, of course, use reduced-fat coconut milk.