Ginataan / Tropical Fruit and Root Crops Stewed in Coconut Cream

After a serious downpour that lasted just 10 minutes this afternoon agin1I noted an alarming rise in water levels on the terrace outside our living room. The ground was saturated from rains over the weekend and water on the lawn was building up rapidly. Suddenly, the entire household was on “flash flood alert” and everyone manned different garden drains to ensure that leaves and grass cuttings weren’t blocking water drains out into the sewers. You know things are bad when drains on the street are bubbling water OUT inside of sucking it in. Thank heavens the rains ceased after 10 more minutes or we would have taken out the emergency rafts. I wouldn’t know what to save first, the family dog or my low-lying cookbooks and food magazines! So what do you think was bubbling away on the stove inside? Ginataan or Benignit (Cebuano) – how ideal is that? I couldn’t have scripted that any better…

Cubed gabi (taro root), kamote (sweet potato), ube (purple yam), was first softened agin2in thick fresh coconut cream brought to a simmer, then bananas, sago, and brown sugar was added and finally strips of fresh langka and cooked until just the right consistency. This is rainy season comfort food at its best. The ube gave the stew a light lavender hue and the slightly sweetened thickened coconut cream coated all of the root vegetables and fruits. Not diet food, for sure. A huge pot fed about a dozen people (including several workers installing our windows!) and I don’t even want to guess how many thousand calories that was! To make a large pot coconut milk from two grated coconuts is enough. The gabi, kamote and ubi tend to thicken the sauce as well. Don’t put too much sugar as it is not meant to be sickly sweet. Enjoy!


20 Responses

  1. Ginataan is another of those childhood comfort foods. The ones available in restaurants never seem to get that right combination, or it’s just sago and malagkit balls (what are those called?) with a sad looking banana and a hint of langka. I also like ginataan mongo or ginataan na mais. Do you have any recipes for those? The family yaya was the one who could make it best, but she’s retired and I have no clude how to make those.

  2. Bubut, you are right, the bilo-bilo is IN THERE but I forgot to mention it in the post. I find them a bit pasty… Mila, you must have had a cook from the Visayas. Ginataang mongo is big there and apparently you can ginata corn with sugar for a dessert or with salt for a vegetable. I haven’t had ginataang monggo in years but will try some in the near future!

  3. Ginataan…perfect for those cold rainy days or just good ole merienda after a hard and tiring school day. My maternal lola, bless her soul, would always cook this with lots of banana and bilo-bilo because she knows I love them so in ginataan. Lola’s girl pa naman ako =) I’d even eat some for breakfast the next day (if there were leftovers which happens rarely). Hay, my memories of childhood are all coming back to me now…

  4. This is the ultimate food of my childhood — back when I had no cable television/broadband internet access and entertained myself by playing outdoors and looking forward to whatever merienda our cook prepared for that afternoon. And I was a disturbingly skinny kid (that had to be fed appetite inducers) so thousands of calories be damned.

    And I used to horde those sticky white balls (which others refer to as bilo-bilo) and save them until the very end.

  5. Sigh…this is a real “comfort food”, perfect for rainy season melancholy-ness.

    Wysgal, I used to save the sticky white balls for last too! Heehee…

  6. ah market man I know this benignit will soon arrive here!
    I can just close my eyes and step back to Cebu..
    I could just remember getting our own gabi and afternoon comes for merienda… benignit!

    If we didnt cook this there is lady in our street who has a big pot with boiling hot benignit….

  7. ayayay. another comfort food. at least this we can have here. i never ate those rice balls either, but now i do — more out of faithfulness to authenticity than anything else…. my 9-year old loves the balls so he’s the one hoarding them now.

  8. I think a lot of us were bilo-bilo hoarders then. Count me in as one. I’d eat the langka and saba first, then ube, then the sago and bilo-bilo. My memory may be toying with me, but I always remember eating ginataan halo-halo, sitting on a wooden stool in front of the door watching the rain.

  9. kanina lang binigyn ako ng neighbor ko ng ginataan halo-halo at hanggang nayon kinankain ko pa. i thinnk she’s cleaning her pantry kaya even the canned yam, nilagay niya plus canned langka. okay naman ang lasa may sago din wala nga lang bilo-bilo matanong nga bukas why? demanding ba no binigyan na nga eh!

  10. I’ve been reading some of your posts and wow. I never knew my mouth could water so much! I missed all the Philippine foods and just seeing the pictures of it made me that much more homesick! Ginataan reminds me of rainy days, just sitting at home, and eating it warm. Oh, the good ol’ days. haha.

  11. My mom is an expert cook on this, being a bicolana. This is an all-time fave in our household growing up. When we were young, my sisters and i help make the purple bilo-bilo. Bonding time as we tell jokes and stories. Even when we migrated here in the states, we did it. Now that we have our own families, i take pride in introducing this dish to friends. The best feeling I get after i cook this is when our daughter would ask me to save some for her for the next day. nakakatuwa thinking she’s 5 then.

  12. Favorite ko to! I think I was 8 or 9 years old when I first had a taste of Ginataang Bilo-Bilo na luto ng mga Caviteno. Sobrang sarap! Nire-request ko yan sa kanila lalo na pag Feista. Dekada na ata ang nakalipas since I had a decent bowl of this. May pamahiin pa nga sila (mga Caviteno). Ang buntis, pinapakuha ng isang bilo-bilo tapos itatapon sa apoy. Pag pumutok at may patulis, lalake daw magiging anak nya. Babae, otherwise. Aliw, noh!

  13. can anyone please tell me where does ginataan originated… my professor gave me a research work regarding the history of ginataang bilo bilo and i was so depressed na kasi i haven’t find it at all…please help….my lola keep telling me that its from bicol but not very sure…yeah i know…professor are really smart this days!!!

  14. Marketman…I love this food blog of yours…I am learning a lot. MY thank you’s to the countless contributors plus yourregulars like Betty Q and Maria Clara.

  15. just ate a bowl of hot guinataan for lunch.. HAHA cravings! bought it form Cafe Via Mare, and its yummy!



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