08 Apr2009


When I experiment in the kitchen, I often have left over odds and ends. I buy chopped unripe langka by the kilo, but end up only using half of it, or I broil fish and we end up eating 2/3 of it. Or buy enough grated coconut thinking it’s better to have more than end up short, so two cups of coconut milk sits forlorn. Then one or the other of our crew (at this point almost all of them can cook a mean meal) ends up making a brilliant version of “utan bisaya” (visayan vegetable soup) which doesn’t ever seem the same as the last time I featured it… So here’s yet another comforting version that was delicious, nutritious and totally meat free.


In a pot, they added water and onions, squash and other vegetables in the order in which it takes them to cook… langka (unripe jackfruit), eggplants, etc. Then they added some flaked broiled fish meat, then leftover cups of freshly squeezed coconut milk and let this simmer until almost done. Season with salt and at the last minute, add the greens such as kangkong and turn off the heat, and serve with lots of rice. There are just so many versions of utan bisaya, precisely because it is dependent on what you have on hand. If we had a malunggay (horseradish tree) nearby it would probably have included those leaves as well. While this dish is extremely quick and simple to make, it has depth and richness because of the coconut milk, protein from the broiled fish, and all of the benefits of lots of vegetables. Definitely smart comfort food. Perfect for the Lenten season.



  1. maddie says:

    When you cook with gata, do you use the first press or the second? They say, the first one yields sweeter coconut milk and the second is the one that they use to cook guintaang monggo with langka, with the coconut milk more of the unsweetened version. me, i have no idea. i just ask for gata period.

    Apr 8, 2009 | 4:39 pm


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  3. maddie says:

    this is yummy comfort food, by the way.

    Apr 8, 2009 | 4:40 pm

  4. JE says:

    Looks awesome. Wonder what kind of cooked fish would go well with it.

    Apr 8, 2009 | 4:47 pm

  5. mardie c",) says:

    OMG, its 01:44 in the morning and yet im craving for one steaming, hot utan bisaya. ayayay! with or without gata utan bisaya would always be in my comfort food list.

    Apr 8, 2009 | 4:47 pm

  6. Lex says:

    This tastes great if you add flaked dried fish (uga) to the mixture. This is how it was made in our house growing up in Bacolod.

    Apr 8, 2009 | 5:25 pm

  7. Cristy says:

    I’ll be going back to the Philippines tomorrow and will arrive just in time for Good Friday – a perfect time for utan bisaya. But then again, utan bisaya is perfect for any day! Yay! >”

    Apr 8, 2009 | 6:33 pm

  8. bearhug0127 says:

    this is really comfort food. again. with whatever veggies one has available, malunggay, kalabasa, green papaya, sitaw, kangkong, camote leaves etc, plus a little shrimp paste and you have a tasty veggie soup. laswa!

    Apr 8, 2009 | 7:29 pm

  9. thelma says:

    this is almost like dinengdeng which my ilokano friend taught me…ingredients almost the same except that she adds fried fish and a little bagoong in hers.

    Apr 8, 2009 | 8:13 pm

  10. marilen rodriguez says:

    Happy Easter to everybody. I could eat laswa for breakfast lunch and dinner. Maddie, please steer me in the direction of where to obtain the cookbook Namet (St. Scho fundraiser project?) I have a sister in law in Bacolod. Salamat guid, inday.

    Apr 8, 2009 | 8:35 pm

  11. betty q. says:

    Maddie, a favour please if I may ask? How much is the cookbook? If I mail you a cheque or remit, can you send me the cookbook via Canada Post? I should have my sister buy it from you. She is a St. Scho. alumnus 19 kopong kopong (she’ll kill me if she reads this!).

    Hey Manong Marc, can you please ask your mom…is there a Theresiana cookbook? There is an Assumption one, St. Paul’s, NOw St. Scho….none for Theresianas? If there is none, and someone would like to get started, tell your mom I would be more than happy to contribute SOMETHING!!!…PROVIDED beneficiary are truly those in need!

    Apr 9, 2009 | 2:03 am

  12. Maria Clara says:

    BettyQ: Off topic and appreciate your input and help regarding my inquiry: Do you happen to know how to make the peanut bar or candy they sell in Ongpin? Some places they carry them in cylindrical form and some like a cut bar. They are wrapped in clear cellophane and when you bite them they fall off and real good. Crushed well they make a good addition in chocolate filling and frosting. Thanks.

    Apr 9, 2009 | 4:27 am

  13. kim says:

    must be good with either spicy or sweet bagoong too ! was craving for gata and made my alachamba version last weekend, only I used thai red curry paste, and of course I had nothing but kalabasa and string beans on hand … was surprised it was yummy ! like what MM said, you have to make do whatever leftover you have :)

    Apr 9, 2009 | 5:53 am

  14. betty q. says:

    MY apologies, Maria Clara! I am stumped! I do not have a clue as to what the candy even taste like. Let me ask my son’s friend who is currently in Manila to bring back those candy. Do you know if they are only available in Ongpin?

    Apr 9, 2009 | 6:56 am

  15. Maria Clara says:

    BettyQ: Thanks again for getting back to me and help me on this. If you google Eng Bee Tin they have it in their website under Product named Chinese Delicacies and it is the last page (page 3) named Peanut Cakes which is in cut bar form. I believe they carry the product at any SM Supermarket stores.

    Apr 9, 2009 | 7:13 am

  16. paolo says:

    looks good! i can almost smell the soup from here!

    Apr 9, 2009 | 7:34 am

  17. millet says:

    that’s also good with leftover bulad! MM, you don’t have a malunggay tree in your yard? BUT you are Bisaya…!

    Apr 9, 2009 | 9:45 am

  18. PanchoA says:

    Just curious Marketman. Did your staff treat you to any “binignit” while you were here? (Binignit is Guinataan to the Tagalogs.) For some strange reason, that heavy merienda item is what is de rigeur during this season of what they refer to as “panahon sa pu-asa” or time of fasting.

    I know it defeats logic to be able to enjoy that delicious hot preparation and pass it off as sacrificial, but what the heck, I’m not complaining. Besides, I believe differently already.

    Have a great break!

    Apr 9, 2009 | 9:48 am

  19. marissewalangkaparis says:

    Looks delish…great for the Holy week…

    Bettyq,there’s also an ICA (Immaculate Conception Academy) recipe book. Lots of great recipes. It was given as a gift. Good chinese dishes like the Misua and a lot of the barbecues and sauces from the Aurelios.I’d also like to get a copy of the St.Scho recipe book Maddie.

    Happy Easter!

    Apr 9, 2009 | 11:22 am

  20. maricar says:

    hi maddie, i also would like a copy of the st scho recipe book….wer do we buy it? tanx……

    Apr 9, 2009 | 12:52 pm

  21. maricar says:

    hey,marissealangkaparis, wer do they sell kaya the ICA cookbook? tanx ha!!!!!

    Apr 9, 2009 | 12:53 pm

  22. lee says:

    the st. scho recipe book is available at pendy’s

    Apr 9, 2009 | 2:35 pm

  23. ing says:

    i remembered this one very well when we were still young and my lola still cooks for us or i still live in cebu. i didn’t appreciate this dish before since i’m not a veggie eater… not until i got married and lived with my husband’s family and we always have vegetable dishes on the table except for this one. i missed this utan bisaya. maybe i can make it here in uae. i’m just so disappointed since i’m finidng it hard to look for kamunggay leaves here (they don’t have it in their supermarkets).
    tnx for posting it.
    ingat… :p

    Apr 9, 2009 | 2:43 pm

  24. Lex says:

    The Sts. Scho “Namit Gid” cookbook costs P300 in Bacolod. Yes it is available in Pendy’s.

    Betty Q, the ICA and Assumption cookbooks are very good. They have now been copied by Woodrose and St. Theresa’s. They have their own versions of these cookbooks.

    Apr 9, 2009 | 3:29 pm

  25. betty q. says:

    Lee: a favour please? If I remit the money to you (pati na pang merienda and kape mo sa Pendy’s for 1 to 2 weeks kasama na ang hapunan!), could you mail the cookbook to me please?

    Apr 9, 2009 | 3:52 pm

  26. danney says:

    You know the Tagalogs (Taga ilog) like me from Laguna, we love gata so much. Gatang kanduli, gatang biya, gatang manok, gatang gulay, adobo sa gatang baboy or manok with atsuete and more. Just the thought of gata cause me to salivate. I notice though the Tagalogs are not into sili or hot spicy food but I love spicy food.

    Did you folks read that Sweet and Sour Chicharon article and recipe from Philippine Inquirer few days ago? That is something else. I love it.

    I’m not sure if you are familiar with isdang mamale in Laguna. I don’t know if this is the same as Imelda fish. I love the sinigang sa miso version. But I heard it has too much cholesterol. Can anyone shed light on this? Does mamale has a lot of omega 3 or cholesterol?

    I’m quite surprise of the food here in Australia. Every food courts and restaurants I visited in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and even in Wellington, New Zealand offer wide variety of Thai, Vietnammese, Malaysian, Indonesian and Japanese food. I’m beginning to think Asian cuisine is the national dish of Australia. They have amazing selection of sandwiches too and pastries. I had fried flounder in a Chinese restaurant in Sydney’s Chinatown and spicy shredded pork. Fantastic dinner

    Compare to our food courts in most of our malls, Australian food courts have big selection of Asian cusine. One big tupperwire to take out is AUD$3.50 in Sydney and buy 3 tupperwire full of Asian food for AUD$10.00.

    The Cadbury chocolate bars and easter eggs are everywhere and very inexpensive.

    In Vanuatu I had coconut crab cooked Asian way in ginger and spices for $30. Its worth the price. The coconut crab was 4 pounds and the meat and the juice is so tasteful. Really coconut cream without the coconut itself.

    Dunkin Doughnut in Australia has a big selection of doughnuts and shakes as well as slurpee type Coke, 7 Up and more. Truly different than what we have back home in the Philippines.

    I had kangaroo steak in Melbourne and its amazingly juicy and tender.

    In few weeks time I will be in Vancouver, Victoria and Alaska. I can’t wait salmon fishing in Juneau and glacier hiking and do high tea at Empress Hotel in Victoria.

    Apr 9, 2009 | 4:30 pm

  27. Lex says:


    Apr 9, 2009 | 7:29 pm

  28. Connie C says:

    C’mon Lex, give a little will you? Happy Easter!

    Apr 9, 2009 | 8:33 pm

  29. shalimar says:

    kalami… my aunts house staff in Manila are from Cebu and Leyte, they cook this kind of food while my cousins eat lots of meat etc, I would begged the staff to let me eat with them.

    Apr 10, 2009 | 3:15 am

  30. filipina42 says:

    My daughter went to St. Scho and we live a stone’s throw away. I hope the cookbook is available.

    Apr 10, 2009 | 7:19 am

  31. kakusina says:

    A very good friend (a nun) gave me a cook book titled The Good Food Book. The Good Shepherd nuns, by the way, make those delicious jams and jellies in Baguio. The book includes recipes for strawberry jam, guava jelly, sugar free pies,chicken emppanada,papaitan,adobo in kamyas,santol pickles. The proceeds from the book go to the outreach programs of the congregation such as a headstart program for children in an urban poor area, assistance to migrant women, etc. Tatlong printings na yata ang libro. I don’t know if copies are available now, they print on demand. The Good Shepherd covent is located in Aurora Blvd, beside St. Bridget School.

    Apr 10, 2009 | 9:36 am

  32. betty q. says:

    So, MM …how about yours? May I have a signed copy, please?

    Apr 10, 2009 | 9:59 am

  33. Chowhound says:

    Wow, that looks really good, I bet it would be fantastic specially with the ugly winter-like weather we’re having over here even if it’s already spring. From the picture it looks like a mixture of langka, kalabasa and kangkong. I love all of these things. It actually makes me miss ginataang langka, actually anything cooked with gata. I’m both Bicolana and Tagalog and my family cooks pretty much everything with gata, sili, tanglad and the occasional dahon ng kalamansi. We like the sauce to be a little bit on the thick side, sometimes we even let the oil come out a little bit. I just had dinner a few hours ago and I’m getting hungry again just looking at this picture.

    Apr 10, 2009 | 1:12 pm

  34. thelma says:

    chowhound, do you only use one or two dahon ng kalamansi to taste with this of recipe? i have a kalamansi in the backyard loaded with fruits so maybe i can use a few leaves when i cook vegetables with gata. i’ve never done that before…

    Apr 10, 2009 | 8:12 pm

  35. Chowhound says:

    Hi Thelma,

    We normally use two. Kalamansi leaves pack such fragrance they make the whole kitchen smell so good. I like kalamansi better than kaffir lime, it has a fresher quality to it. Maybe I’m just biased lol!

    Apr 11, 2009 | 12:29 am

  36. thelma says:

    chowbound, thanks for answering my question. i feel like cooking ginataang vegetables tonight and would add one or two kalamansi leaves to it. i will certainly let you know on the outcome. i just love anything with gata…

    Apr 11, 2009 | 9:18 am

  37. diday says:

    I’m thinking the same thing too, Millet – utan Bisaya with bulad. PanchoA binignit on Sunday, everyone is invited. he!he!he!

    Apr 11, 2009 | 2:23 pm

  38. PanchoA says:

    Thanks Diday. We overloaded on that stuff already. Twice. Have a blessed Resurrection Sunday, all of you. He is Risen, indeed. And He will come again… very soon!

    Apr 11, 2009 | 2:35 pm

  39. maddie says:

    Sorry for the super delayed reply Marilen, Betty Q., and Maricar. I was out-of-town. As Lee and Lex have said, it is available at Pendy’s in Bacolod. In Manila you can get it at JT’s Manukan Grill (the inasalan of Joel Torre) with branches in Malugay St. Makati, Gilmore cor Valencia St., New Manila, and St. Esguerra Street (near ABS-CBN) in Quezon City. It sells for P300.00. Betty Q., please email me at mmcv10@yahoo.com so we can discuss how I can send you a copy if no one has done so yet. This book is a project of St. Scho Bacolod HS Batch ’80 but I don’t think the school sells it. “Madamo gid na salamat” for your interest.

    Apr 15, 2009 | 2:18 am

  40. leah m says:

    what is the name of the assumption cookbook???

    Apr 25, 2009 | 3:24 am

  41. Marivic says:

    “The Assumption HS 79 Cookbook”. It was a project of the HS 79 class for their 25th year, and is still available for P599 at most National Bookstores. Also available at the school bookstore for P500. They’re coming out with a volume two before the year is over (for their Pearl anniversary).

    Jul 10, 2009 | 1:50 pm

  42. jerome says:

    This is the reason why my grandma lived to be a 100…and my grandpa too. Utan Illonggo. Ummmm….I can still remember harvesting apat apat in their ricefield or eating a …what seems to a be a nasty dish THEN….squash, okra, saluyot, alogbati, shrimp w/ guinamos to taste..and a side dish of pinamalhan nga isda…and that guinamos Ilonggo. Its binayo or pounded. I never seen that since…And my grandma’s dried fish can beat nay cut of steak anytine anywhere…So many memories of this dish..Thank you MM..

    Sep 19, 2009 | 3:25 am



    Jan 10, 2010 | 8:15 pm

  44. peter sandy sevilla says:

    well… looks good but you know what they say…… the best way to appreciate any dish is to put it into taste.

    Jul 12, 2010 | 9:55 pm


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