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Ginataang Kalabasa (Coconut Squash Stew)

This is one my fave Filipino dishes that my Mom cooks during the Fall and Winter seasons. My Dad made it with crab and it was mouthwatering and super messy, using your hands to pull it apart. Whenever I live away from home and want that comfort food fix, this was my go-to recipe to cook in my apartment. Shrimp and squash, stewed in a rich, creamy coconut sauce over steamed white rice. Amazing! I actually like mine to have room temperature rice, with piping hot Ginataang Kalabasa on it. SO good and really easy to make.

As usual, there's no precise amount of ingredients for this and it's all according to taste and preference. Whenever I asked my parents for any recipe, they would never give me a clear answer on quantity of each ingredient. Just have fun with it and experiment.


  • 1 medium to large Kalabasa Squash, seeded and cut into 2-3inch chunks. If you absolutely can't find Kalabasa/Calabaza/Kabocha (they're pretty much at every produce section, but you can use Butternut Squash). Oh, and you can leave the skin on if the squash has a soft skin to it. Just pinch the skin and if it pierces easily you can totally leave it on. I actually LOVE it with the skin left on it. Trust me, it gets nice and tender.

  • ½-1 lb shrimp. I like them to be unpeeled, with heads on to maximize the flavor. You can totally peel them, I would leave the tails on at least, to give it that flavor.

  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

  • 1 banana chili (optional).

  • 1 chunk of ginger, smashed with one of those rubber mallet thingies (you could leave the skin on and the entire piece of ginger could be removed later).

  • 1 large onion, peeled and diced

  • 2 cups coconut cream milk. Make sure it's the coconut milk that says it's "Cream Coconut Milk". It adds thickness to the stew. The brand I like to use it Savoy.

  • 3 tablespoons shrimp paste or fish sauce.

  • salt and pepper to taste

Oh, and you can also add long green beans to this, cut to 3 inch pieces.


This is going to sound ridiculously easy, but you literally just put everything into the pot and make sure the liquid (your coconut milk) reaches just above your ingredients. I always add water if it doesn't. 100% of the time, I add water, but don't go crazy with it. Once again, just make sure your ingredients are covered with liquid. Bring to a simmer until your squash becomes tender and shrimp changes in color. Do not cover to avoid stew from separating. Also make sure to not overcook the squash or else you'll end up with nothing left. They become tender, suprisingly fast (not like potatoes). Add salt and pepper to taste. That's it! Serve it on a bed of steamed white rice and enjoy!

Kisses and Kalabasas,


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