Got coconut milk? Cozy Filipino Vegetable Stew: Ginataang Gulay

Chef Lawrence Letrero prepares a contemporary rendition of a classic Filipino stew by simmering fresh veggies in rich coconut milk until they reach a delicate consistency, resulting in a simple yet delectable supper option for any weekday evening. Ginataang pertains to a diverse selection of Filipino dishes prepared with coconut milk.

The opulent and aromatic preserved food item delivers a substantial burst of taste within a brief duration. Lawrence Letrero from Bayan Ko in Chicago has provided a recipe for this variation, incorporating robust sweet potato, vibrant Japanese eggplant, and crisp haricots verts in the Filipino stew. However, you are welcome to personalize it by using your preferred seasonal vegetables, making it a beloved dish throughout the year.

“Ginataang Gulay is a customary Filipino cuisine,” Letrero states. In Tagalog, the term ‘gulay’ translates to ‘vegetable,’ while ‘ginataang’ refers to the method of cooking with coconut milk. At the restaurant, we strive to maintain the authenticity of our recipes while incorporating unique modifications. Unlike other ginataang gulay recipes that instruct to cook all the veggies together, our version at Bayan Ko preserves the integrity of each vegetable by cooking them in different batches.

Step into the world of Filipino culinary delight as we unravel the warmth and richness encapsulated in a delightful dish known as Ginataang Gulay. This traditional Filipino vegetable stew invites you to savor the essence of coconut milk while relishing a comforting blend of flavors and textures. Join us on a journey through the origins, ingredients, and step-by-step preparation of this cozy and nutritious dish that has become a staple in Filipino households.

Origin and Cultural Significance:

Ginataang Gulay (Filipino Stew) Recipe

Ginataang Gulay, also known as Vegetable Ginataan, is a beloved Filipino dish that draws its roots from the country’s rich culinary heritage. The term “ginataan” refers to dishes cooked with coconut milk, a fundamental ingredient in many Filipino recipes. This culinary tradition is deeply ingrained in Filipino culture, reflecting the abundant use of coconut in various forms, from milk to grated flesh, in daily cooking.

The dish is a testament to the resourcefulness of Filipino cuisine, utilizing locally available vegetables and coconut milk to create a symphony of flavors. Traditionally, Ginataang Gulay is prepared during special occasions, family gatherings, and celebrations, making it a symbol of togetherness and communal joy.

Got coconut milk? Cozy Filipino Vegetable Stew: Ginataang Gulay


The heart of Ginataang Gulay lies in its simple yet flavorful ingredients. The dish typically features a medley of fresh vegetables, aromatic spices, and, of course, the star ingredient – coconut milk. Here is a list of key components that contribute to the unique taste of this Filipino delight:

  1. Coconut Milk: The creamy and luscious base of the stew is created using coconut milk. Extracted from grated coconut flesh, coconut milk adds a rich and velvety texture to the dish, complementing the vegetables.
  2. Assorted Vegetables: A diverse selection of locally available vegetables is used to create a colorful and nutritious blend. Common choices include squash, string beans, eggplant, okra, and leafy greens such as spinach or malunggay.
  3. Aromatics: Garlic, onions, and ginger form the aromatic foundation of the stew, enhancing the overall flavor profile with their unique and pungent notes.
  4. Shrimp Paste (Bagoong): A small amount of shrimp paste is often added to provide a savory and umami depth to the dish. This ingredient is optional and can be omitted for a vegetarian version.
  5. Seasonings: Salt and pepper are used to season the stew, allowing the natural flavors of the vegetables to shine through.

Step-by-Step Preparation:

Family-size QNE Ginataang Gulay Recipe | Life Gets Better | Del Monte

Now, let’s dive into the step-by-step process of preparing Ginataang Gulay, ensuring a delightful and authentic experience:

  1. Gather and Prepare Ingredients: Begin by collecting all the necessary ingredients. Wash and prepare the vegetables, peel and chop the garlic and onions, and grate the ginger.
  2. Sauté Aromatics: In a large pot, heat some cooking oil and sauté the garlic, onions, and ginger until fragrant. This forms the flavorful base of the stew.
  3. Add Vegetables: Incorporate the assorted vegetables into the pot, starting with those that require more time to cook, such as squash. Stir and sauté the vegetables for a few minutes, allowing them to absorb the aromatic flavors.
  4. Pour Coconut Milk: Pour the rich coconut milk into the pot, covering the vegetables. Allow the mixture to simmer over medium heat, allowing the vegetables to absorb the creamy goodness of the coconut milk.
  5. Season and Simmer: Add salt and pepper to taste, and if you choose to use shrimp paste, mix it in at this stage. Let the stew simmer until the vegetables are tender, ensuring they maintain their vibrant colors and flavors.
  6. Serve and Enjoy: Once the vegetables are cooked to perfection and the stew has reached the desired consistency, it’s time to serve. Enjoy Ginataang Gulay on its own or paired with steamed rice for a complete and satisfying meal.

Culinary Tips:

  1. Fresh Ingredients: To fully appreciate the flavors of Ginataang Gulay, use fresh and locally sourced vegetables. The quality of the ingredients greatly influences the taste of the final dish.
  2. Coconut Milk Varieties: Experiment with different types of coconut milk, such as thick coconut cream or light coconut milk, to find the consistency that suits your preference. Some may prefer a thicker stew, while others may enjoy a lighter, broth-like consistency.
  3. Customize with Proteins: While the traditional Ginataang Gulay is a vegetarian delight, feel free to customize the dish by adding protein sources like shrimp, fish, or chicken to cater to individual preferences.
  4. Balancing Flavors: Achieve a harmonious balance of flavors by adjusting the salt, pepper, and shrimp paste according to your taste. The goal is to enhance the natural sweetness of the coconut milk and vegetables.

Ginataang Gulay invites you to experience the heart and soul of Filipino cuisine. Through the skillful combination of coconut milk, fresh vegetables, and aromatic spices, this vegetable stew encapsulates the warmth, richness, and communal spirit of Filipino cooking.

As you embark on the culinary journey of preparing Ginataang Gulay, savor each step and appreciate the cultural significance woven into every ingredient. Whether enjoyed during a festive gathering or as a comforting meal at home, this dish promises a symphony of flavors that will leave you yearning for more.

Got coconut milk? Cozy Filipino Vegetable Stew: Ginataang Gulay

Shrimp Curry with Coconut Milk

So, gather your ingredients, set the pot abuzz with the sizzle of aromatics, and let the coconut milk infuse your kitchen with the inviting fragrance of Filipino comfort. Indulge in the magic of Ginataang Gulay – a dish that not only tantalizes the taste buds but also embodies the spirit of shared moments and cherished traditions.

Is it possible to freeze coconut milk?

To preserve an additional can of coconut milk, it may be placed in a freezer for a maximum duration of 3 months. To preserve coconut milk, just transfer it into ice cube trays and thaw as required. This recipe is highly adaptable, allowing you to use your preferred, seasonal veggies for creating this stew throughout the whole year. To achieve a less dense and somewhat more sugary potato, replace normal sweet potatoes with Japanese sweet potatoes. This version is vegan, but you have the option to incorporate shrimp or sliced chicken breasts to increase the protein content.

Culinary methods

Unlike conventional preparations of ginataang gulay that include simmering the veggies until they become mushy, Letrero’s recipe takes a different approach. The vegetables are blanched individually to prevent any confusion of tastes or excessive cooking. The veggies gradually absorb the aromas of the fragrant coconut milk without disintegrating.

Suggested pairing

For a harmonious combination of the luscious and smooth coconut milk, we suggest pairing it with a fruity red wine that has low levels of tannins, such as Laura Lardy Gourde a Gamay Beaujolais Villages.

Prepare in advance

Ginataan gully that has been completely cooled can be preserved in a hermetically sealed jar in the refrigerator for a maximum of 3 days.


  • 4 ounces haricots verts, halved crosswise (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 2 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch-thick half-moons (about 3 cups)
  • 3 medium japanese eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch-thick half-moons (3 cups)
  • 1 pound sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 large white onion, thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
  • 10 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 2 (13.6-ounce) cans unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 (5-ounce) package baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus cilantro leaves for garnish
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint, plus mint leaves for garnish
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 2 limes)
  • 1 teaspoon sambal oelek or chile paste
  • Cooked jasmine rice and lime wedges, for serving


Heat a generous amount of water with added salt until it reaches a boiling point. Cook the veggies individually, starting with haricots verts, followed by zucchini, eggplant, and sweet potato. Cook each vegetable until it is practically al dente, which takes 1 minute and 30 seconds for haricots verts, 2 to 3 minutes for zucchini and eggplant, and 6 to 8 minutes for sweet potatoes. Remove the liquid from the veggies and place them on a baking sheet; keep them aside.

Warm the oil in a spacious Dutch oven on a medium heat setting. Sauté onion, garlic, ginger, salt, and black pepper; stir regularly until onion becomes tender, approximately 5 to 6 minutes.

Incorporate coconut milk into the mixture, using a utensil to scrape the bottom of the Dutch oven and remove any caramelized residue. Heat till boiling on medium-high heat. Incorporate the spinach into the mixture until it starts to slightly wither, which should take around 1 minute. Incorporate the veggies that were set aside by stirring them in.

Heat the mixture over medium heat until it reaches a simmer. Stir regularly and continue cooking for approximately 15 minutes, allowing the flavors to blend together. Take the mixture off the heat and include cilantro, mint, scallions, lime juice, and sambal oelek by stirring. Add salt and black pepper according to personal preference. Decorate with cilantro and mint leaves; accompany with rice and lime wedges.



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