Santol & Sugpo sa Gata / Santol and Prawns in Coconut Milk

Sauteed santol as a main course?? I have to admit that I san1was a bit skeptical and considered this a bit of a “stretch” under normal circumstances. But some recent articles in the broadsheet papers, a quick perusal of an interesting local cookbook focused to Bicolano cooking, a grandfather who traces his roots to a town outside Legazpi, and this website, which has pushed me to try things I have thus far ignored, dismissed or been indifferent to, resulted in a lunchtime experiment to try out this santol in gata recipe. The base recipe and method are described in incredible detail in The Coconut Cookery of Bicol written by Honesto C. General. I have tweaked that base recipe a little. I also added medium sized prawns which I am told real Bicolanos would frown upon… at any rate check out this recipe for Santol with Prawns in Coconut Milk.

To make, chop one small white onion, 5 cloves of smashed garlic, san2a two-inch chunk of ginger smashed, 2 stems of lemongrass or tanglad, some shrimp paste (bagoong) or dried shrimp, 100 grams of meaty daing or fresh prawns (I used the latter), siling labuyo (birdseye chilli) and salt. Prepare milk from two grated coconuts and ½ kilo of chopped santol (skins only, no seeds) which you have soaked in water and drained and pressed to remove excess liquid. Over high heat, bring the coconut milk and all of the other ingredients except the prawns and salt to a boil. Keep stirring to avoid curdling. Keep boiling this down until the milk is quite oily, this will take 10-15 minutes depending on the heat. Add the chopped santol and cook for another 10 minutes or so. Add the prawns and season with salt. Serve with steamed rice. How did it taste? I guess it is best described as unique. I really like santol but this was a new flavor sensation altogether. I ate several servings but it hasn’t joined my all time favorites list yet!


13 Responses

  1. MM, I like trying out authentic Filipino Dishes from different regions, like this one I haven’t heard of. I hope you could feature more soon. Very informative indeed.

  2. MM, this dish is similar to that from the Quezon province. My friends from Infanta, Quezon introduced this dish to me n they call it “sinantol”. They make it with prawns as you mentioned, alimago (which is abundant in their area, fish (i forgot the name!)and of course pork. Their end-result is really yummy – i think they have a way to really squeeze out the water from the santol.. :)

  3. MM, me ulit.. have you tried ripe guava made into soup??? well i really don’t know how it was done, but my lola used to do this dish – being the kapampangan that she is – it really tasted delicious. You can check with “the pilgrim’s pots & pans” if you are interested to try it.. thanks…

  4. Aleth I have tried twice to find the ripe native guavas you describe but have not been successful in local markets. It is possible that native guavas peaked earlier and only the large bangkok style guavas remain readily available. If I find some guavas, I will try the sinigang and post it… thanks! Ann, will try other regional recipes when I get the chance…

  5. A friend gave me a jar of homemade ginataang santol with shrimps a few weeks back. It was sensational!! I froze the batch and really budgeted my portions. Had it with barbeque (The best for me these days is Heaven’s Barbeque at The Zone where old Toyota Bel-air is and not Ineng’s which has drastically deteriorated).

  6. wow. this dish would need endless servings of rice! when will they invent a scent inducing output device in computers which will allow us to smell from the web. i would love the scent of this dish, and just have rice and salt. hehehh

  7. A friend once gave me ginataang santol cooked by her mom in Daet. I loved it so much, so now I’m happy I could cook it myself. Thanks!

  8. I bought a Santol Bagoong from Chef’s Exchange last year. It was a different experience, I can say that I’ve never thought of adding santol to bagoong, cooked that is. I may have to try this recipe of MM’s soon!

  9. I love to try cooking this SINANTOL or gainataang santol, since it’s santol season now.

    I’m a little bit afraid i might not get the taste i use to eat before given by my aunt from Quezon.

    I’ll share it with you again once i cooked it on my own, hopefully it will turned out YUMMY…

  10. my grandmother used to cook fresh alamang (small shrimps) with santol.. she would just place the shrimps in a big wok and sautee them without oil and when the shrimps turned pink she would place the santol, which is skinned and cut into quarters with the shrimps. the heat would render the santol to give juice and soften it a little. after cookung i would place some calamnsi juice to my shrimp and santol and eat it with steamed rice. i miss my grandma thinking about this…

  11. Oh yes, I remember that we had a similar dish when my college blockmates and I went to Bicol for our practicum.. We couldn’t believe it was santol either, but it was pretty good..

  12. In Vinzons, Camarines Norte, that tiny, sleepy Tagalog town in northern Bicol, we add balao, a dry shrimp paste that is more pungent and more potent than bagoong, to our sinantol. Balao is prepared in the coastal barrios in circular blocks about a foot in diameter, but you can have a couple of cubes sliced for you at the local tindahan. When she was alive my grandmother used to just hang a block near her pugon for convenience–balao is used in practically all the traditional Bicol-eastern Quezon dishes. Using balao will assault your olfactory faculties (mabaho talaga!), but will definitely make your sinantol a gustatory delight. ;D Also, we normally use a kudkuran ng niyog to grate a fine, even-textured sinantol off the peels, minus the moisture left in the bigger pieces when chopped.

    I believe you’ve lived in Indonesia–they also have balao there. :D



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