Did you know that the Philippines is one of the largest producers of coconut products in the world? Only coming in second in coconut production after Indonesia. Filipinos have been cultivating coconuts for their many uses and products for decades and its one of the top 10 agricultural sectors in the Philippines. Filipinos love coconut product and because of the abundance of it in the county, we love putting it in traditional Filipino recipes. We even have a word for the Filipino dishes that are cooked with coconut, ginataan.
Simply put, ginataan is a general term for Filipino dishes that use coconut meat or coconut milk as the main ingredient, ginataang gulay is a great example and a dish that Filipinos love. The meat of the coconut, or gata, and its meat are the parts of the coconut that are ordinarily used in the ginataan. Other main ingredients of a Filipino recipe are cooked along with the delicious mixture of coconut that always results in a light, creamy, and delicious ginataan dish. Adding the coconut ingredient can transform the dish.
Here is a list of ultimate ginataan Filipino recipes:
1. Ginataang Bilo-bilo
This gooey, milky, coconut-y dessert that’s usually served for miryendas by our lolas just screams Pinoy. Sticky glutinous rice balls, strips of jack fruits, and slices of bananas are all mixed in the syrupy condensed coconut milk. Just add in a spoon full of tapioca balls and your preferred amount of brown sugar to make the dish perfect. This dessert can be served warm or cold but will definitely always bring a smile to our faces as we’re reminded of our childhoods.
2. Ginataang Tulingan
Tulingang or the skipjack tuna is a delicious fish to cook in and of itself but becomes even more flavorful and delicious when paired with a coconut-based sauce. The tulingan is simmered in coconut milk along with other ingredients such as chopped eggplants and tomatoes, ginger, garlic, vinegar, and onions. The resulting dish will have a creamy consistency with a delicious flavor and sweetness from the ginger. The dish will be complete served with fluffy white rice.
3. Ginataang Adobo
Also known as adobo sa gata, adobo is probably the most popular Filipino fish worldwide and is considered by many Filipinos as the country’s unofficial national dish. Adobo sa gata is just one of adobo’s many versions. This one just makes it much more evident how much Filipinos love adding coconut products to their ingredients. And ginataang adobo is relatively simple to cook. It’s basically the same recipe of the classic chicken adobo, just add coconut milk at the end of the cooking process, let it simmer for a few minutes and it’s done. The result is a much creamier and lighter version of the classic adobo.
See also: Ultimate Filipino Adobo Recipes
4. Ginataang Mais
Ginataang mais is a popular Filipino dish that can be served both hot or cold and can be eaten as a snack or as a dessert. It’s made from sweet kernel corn, jack fruit, malagkit or glutinous rice, and granulated sugar all mixed in creamy coconut milk.
5. Ginataang Halo-halo
Ginataang halo-halo takes on a hot twist to the classic cold halo-halo that’s served with ice cream and a concoction of different ingredients. Ginataang halo-halo is best served hot as the cooking process requires the coconut milk to boil then lowered to a simmer after the sugar is dissolved in the coconut milk. Other ingredients such as potatoes, bananas, jackfruits, tapioca balls, and glutinous rice balls are added afterward to the mixture.
6. Ginataang Manok
Ginataang Manok or chicken has this light creamy chicken flavor that Filipinos just can’t get enough of. It’s a creamy chicken soup made from coconut milk with the chicken as its protein and with a variety of added vegetables sliced into cubes such as carrots, green papaya, and potatoes. The main ingredients are mixed with garlic, onion, ginger, and fish sauce (sometimes shrimp paste). A popular variant of ginataang manok is called the Filipino chicken curry where the recipe just mixed in curry powder in the cooking process.
Laing originated from the Bicol Region. The recipe has its main ingredients of taro or gabi reduce in coconut milk and added with shrimp paste and chili. The Bicolanos are known for their love of spicy food and laing is the perfect combination of the delicious mixture of light creamy coconut and hot and spicy flavors. The spiciness serves as a little kick for your palate that compliments the light and smooth texture of the dish. As with any Filipino recipes, it’s best enjoyed with a plate of white rice.
See also: Top 10 Bicolano Foods That You Must Try
8. Ginataang Isda
Ginataang isda is simply fish stewed in coconut milk and mixed with leafy vegetables. In ginataang isda, any species of fish and cuts of fish that are available can be used as long as it’s stewed in coconut milk, like the already mentioned ginataang tulingan above. The most common fish species to gata, however, is the tilapia. The dish is also commonly mixed with leafy vegetables such as pechay, eggplant, and okra for added nutrition. The result is a delicious fluffy fish dish with creamy coconut sauce and nutritious leafy vegetables.
9. Ginataang Kuhol
The ginataang kuhol’s main ingredient is the kuhol or snail, the golden apple snail to be specific. It’s a rare delicacy in the Philippines that not many Filipino are familiar with but once you’ve eaten these snails stewed in coconut milk, you’ll keep on wanting more. The snails are cleaned first then cooked in coconut milk like any other ginataan ingredient. Just add in leafy vegetables and it’s good to eat.
10. Ginatanaang Langka
You’ve already encountered langka or jackfruit in the earlier recipes above used as a side ingredient but the great thing about coconut milk is that it can make any ingredient the main star. Ginataang langka is made of unripe jackfruits stewed in coconut milk along with grated coconut meat. Seasoned with turmeric, salt, and pepper then added with chili, the dish makes for a healthy snack or even a main meal with rice.
Kinilaw is a traditional Filipino dish that’s similar to the Spanish ceviche. It’s simply a raw seafood platter that makes use of the ingredients that can be found straight out of the sea. The fresher the better. Raw fish or meat are traditionally used in kinilaw although lightly grilled meat is also popularly used as well. The proteins are mixed with slices of tomatoes, ginger, cucumber, and chilis. The ingredients are reduced in vinegar (usually from coconuts) and acidic fruit juices to make the raw ingredients safe to eat. It’s a great dish for pulutan when drinking with friends.
12. Ginataang Labong
Ginataang labong is a healthy vegetable dish that’s basically bamboo shoots stewed in coconut milk. Secondary ingredient of preferred meat that could be seafood, pork, or chicken is added along with spices for the dish. Although for those who prefer to make the dish vegan, tofu can be substituted for the meat. Lastly, a variety of chosen vegetables can be added such as chili pepper leaves, carrots, and tomatoes. Ginataang labong is best served with white rice.
13. Ginataang Munggo
Ginataang munggo is made of mung beans stewed in coconut milk that’s prepared as a bowl of a tasty delicious dessert. The mung beans stew is also filled with glutinous rice that filling to the stomach and is usually eaten for meryenda as a midday snack after school for children. Other sweer ingredients are usually added to the bowl such as kernels of corn, sliced banana, and jackfruits.
See also: Top 5 Health Benefits of Eating Munggo
Gising-gising originated from the provinces of Nueva Ecija and Pampanga. The dish means wake-up because of the spicy flavor it has that keeps the body from falling asleep. It’s a quick dish to make and only needs a matter of minutes to cook if you’re familiar with the recipe. The ingredients are traditionally green beans, with some onions, garlic, added with some shrimp paste and chili for the spice. And all of the ingredients are, of course, sauteed in coconut milk. The dish can be eaten on its own, with rice, or as a side dish.
See also: 15 Healthy Native Filipino Foods
15. Ginataang Pechay
And last but certainly not least on the list is the nutritious and delicious ginataang pechay, also known as Chinese cabbage. Ginataang pechay is made with both coconut milk and coconut cream where the handful of bunches of pechay leaves is reduced. For extra protein, small cut strips of pork are added and seasoned with paprika, salt, and pepper. Minced garlic, onion, and ginger are also added. All of this results in a light and creamy balanced dish that’s also very nutritious from the pechay.
Burton, James. (2018, April 19). The World Leaders In Coconut Production. Retrieved from https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/the-world-leaders-in-coconut-production.html