One of the many things that living in California has brought about is a surge in my produce related vocabulary. This including an enrichment in my knowledge of the squash. With a visit to the pumpkin patch with my family, I was overwhelmed with the variety and species that was available. Some had funny names, and funny looks, and each one with its own unique palatable experience to offer.
Growing up, I was exposed to just the kalabasa, which I found out later on was called the kabocha squash. This type of squash is my squash nemesis. It is so tasking and time consuming to peel the hard dull finished deep green skin that using a peeler is almost not worth it, and with its rounded shape it can be tricky, if not dangerous, working on it with a knife…but I love squash, and my baby loves squash, and squash brings nutritious doses of beta carotene, potassium, iron, and vitamin C.
The solution is finding a squash with a similar familiar sweet taste yet soft enough to manhandle; which brings me to the Butternut Squash, my go to for Filipino squash dishes without the dreaded preparation.
Here are some squash recipes.
Ginataang Kalabasa with Chicharon (Squash in Coconut Milk Topped with Pork Cracklings)
You will need:
1 Tbsp cooking oil
½ tsp minced garlic
1 small red or yellow onion, chopped
1 400 ml can of coconut milk
1 cup medium sized shrimp
2 to 3 cups cubed Butternut squash
1 bundle of string beans (sitaw), cut into 1 inch length
salt and pepper
1 finger of ginger, sliced and crushed
1 piece Anaheim pepper, sliced diagonally into two, optional
Pork cracklings or chihcaron
What to Do:
In a wok or pan large enough for stir frying, heat up the oil and sauté the garlic and onion. Add the shrimp and let it cook. Shake the can of coconut milk before opening and pour the contents into the pan. Let it simmer.
Add squash and string beans. Add the ginger. Then season with salt, and pepper according to taste.
Add the Anaheim pepper. Let it simmer until the squash is tender. Test the tenderness of the squash by pricking it with a fork.
Top with pork cracklings. Serve with steamed rice and enjoy while it is hot. This also goes really well as a side dish for fried fish.
Ukoy (Squash Fritter Patties)
What to Do:
Heat up the oil in a frying pan.
Make the batter with the cornstarch and cold water. Add the salt and pepper. (I use cold water because it makes the fritter turn out crispy which gives my 9 year old son the crunchy experience that he enjoys. It’s a sneakingly genius way to make him eat his vegetables.)
Mix the bean sprouts and butternut squash. Add the shrimp.
Form into patties, or use a ladle to scoop a fair amount onto the frying pan and flatten into a patty. Fry one side and flip to cook the other side.
Serve with vinegar for dipping.
With this dish, you have the option to forego the shrimp and go meatless.
Written by: Donna. She is a mother of 2 kids. She is a special-ed teacher during the daytime, and a juggler in the evenings and most weekends. If most people find watching TV or shopping relaxing, she on the other hand, finds messing about in the kitchen to be fun.