The Happy Home Cook: Gulay sa Gata (Squash and Green Beans in Coconut Milk)

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Gulay sa Gata (Photo by Elizabeth Ann Quirino)

Gulay sa Gata (Photo by Elizabeth Ann Quirino)

The long sweltering summer days have slowly given way to cooler temperatures and winds that grip you with a fierce chill. Right about this time, I start cooking with recipes that are heavy on the belly and soothe our souls with warmth and comfort. This Kabocha Squash and Long Green Beans in Coconut Milk was what I had in mind when the chilly autumn weather set in.

The kabocha squash is available year-round but I like to cook this dish Gulay Sa Gata or vegetables in coconut milk during the colder season. There is something about the rich, thick coconut milk with hints of ginger, onions and garlic as the base that make this entree hard to resist. This is an Asian In AmericaMag recipe. Serves 2 to 4.


  • kabocha squash - 2 cups, cubed

  • vegetable oil - 2 Tablespoons

  • garlic - 2 cloves, peeled, minced

  • onion - 1 whole, chopped

  • fresh ginger - 1 knob, peeled, sliced thin in 1-inch slices, about 1/2 Tablespoon

  • tomatoes - 2 pieces, sliced

  • fresh shrimps - 1/2 pound, peeled, deveined

  • shrimp paste (bagoong) - 1 Tablespoon

  • organic vegetable broth - 1/2 cup

  • coconut milk - 1 cup (canned or from fresh coconut)

  • long green beans (sitaw) - 1 bundle, sliced into 2-inch long pieces, about 2 cups

  • sea salt - 1 teaspoon

  • freshly ground black pepper powder - 1 teaspoon

  • boiled rice - for serving


  • Par-boil the squash in a medium stock pot with water for about 15 minutes till it is slightly soft. Drain then set aside.

  • In a large skillet, over medium high heat, add the vegetable oil. Sauté the onions, garlic, ginger, tomatoes. Add the fresh shrimps. Continue cooking till shrimps turn pink for about 8 minutes.

  • Blend in the broth and the shrimp paste (bagoong). Add the pre-boiled kabocha squash and the long green beans.  Cook for about 8 to 10 minutes more till squash cubes are soft.

  • Add the coconut milk at this last stage of cooking. Season with salt and pepper. When the liquid starts to boil and vegetables are just about cooked, turn off the heat. (Note: do not let the coconut milk boil too long or it will curdle).

  • Serve warm with boiled jasmine white rice.

Elizabeth Ann Quirino

Elizabeth Ann Quirino

Elizabeth Ann Quirino, based in New Jersey is a journalist and author of the “How to Cook Philippine Desserts: Cakes and Snacks” Cookbook. She is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals and blogs about Filipino home cooking on her site

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