I can’t remember how old I was or what it was about the Philippines that inspired me to add it to the list of places I want to visit one day. But, now that I’m older and really understand the value of learning more about different cultures, I’m even more intrigued by this group of islands than I already was.
Many tourists who go to the Philippines may head there to visit its beautiful beaches (and I’d probably want to stick my toes in the sand at one of them just to be able to say I did that). But, I would be more excited about exploring the world heritage sites and national cultural treasures found there. And, given my fascination with different cultural foods, I’d be sure to arrive with a list of Filipino dishes I want to try if I’m ever able to take a trip to the Philippines.
I already know that one dish I’d want to eat while there is ginataang gulay, which is made with vegetables (one of which is usually squash) in coconut milk. I actually took a stab at making my own version of the dish last week since Filipino cuisine won in the most recent #FoodieFriday poll. And, you know what? It tasted really good! However, I do think I’ll use more milk next time I make it so that I end up with more liquid when it’s served.
I’ve listed the ingredients I used along with the steps of how to make my 15-Minute Ginataang Gulay With Salmon below if you’d like to make this easy dish for your family. I’ve also included a list of notes (with possible recipe substitutions) at the bottom of this blog post. As with previous recipes, if you purchase any of the ingredients I included using links I included below, I will earn a small commission from qualifying purchases that will help support this blog.
What You’ll Need To Make 15-Minute Ginataang Gulay With Salmon (Six servings)
*1 lb. of Salmon (approximately two skinless filets)
*3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
*1/2 cup of Red Onion, chopped
*1/4 Teaspoon of Ground Ginger–You could also use 1 tsp. grated or minced ginger.
*2 Cups of Squash, cut into cubes–I used a 16-ounce bag of frozen Kabocha Squash
*1 Can of Coconut Milk
*3/4 Cup of Water
*1.5 Cups of Frozen Green Beans–You could also use fresh green beans.
*2 Tablespoons of Fish Sauce
*Salt (to taste)
*3 Cups of White Rice (Optional)
15-Minute Ginataang Gulay With Salmon
Note: Your first few ingredients will actually be cooking at the same time in different pieces of cookware. So, please read though both steps carefully before beginning to cook this dish. And, if you have a budding junior chef in your family, they could help you cook, as well as help you keep track of time!
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium high- to high heat in a small skillet. You’ll use this one to cook the fish. Simultaneously, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a larger pan over medium high heat. This will be cooking all of the other ingredients on a different burner and is the one into which the fish will be added later on.
2. Once the oil is hot in the small skillet, carefully place the salmon filets into the pan.
3. Once the oil is hot in the larger pan, carefully shake the chopped onion into it. Then, sprinkle the ground ginger on top of the onion.
4. Allow the fish to cook until the color has changed on all sides of the filets and the fish can be easily broken into bite-sized pieces (about 5 minutes). If your filets have skin on them when you buy them, you can either cut off the skin before you cook the salmon or wait until the fish has been cooking for a couple of minutes and use a spatula to separate it from the filets.
5. Stir the ground ginger throughout the pieces of onion and allow the onion to cook until it begins to get soft (approximately 2 minutes).
6. Take the salmon off the heat once it has been broken into pieces and set it aside.
7. Once the onion has begun to get soft, add the squash to the pan with the onion and sautee both vegetables together for 5 minutes.
8. Put the coconut milk in the pan. Then pour 3/4 cup of water into the pan and stir all of the ingredients until the vegetables are mixed throughout the liquid in the pan.
9. Increase the burner on the stove to high heat and then add the green beans and the fish sauce to the pan.
10. Once the contents of the pan begin to boil, place the pieces of salmon in it and allow all of these ingredients to cook for 5 minutes. You may add a bit of salt to taste at this point if you want to, as well.
11. When the dish is ready, you can eat it in a bowl by itself or ladle it on top of white rice. Enjoy!
Additional Ingredients. Possible Substitutions and General Recipe Notes:
1. Many versions of this recipe include shrimp, while others use diced or ground pork. I don’t buy or cook with either, so I used salmon, a protein that our whole family eats and likes a lot. Ground chicken or ground turkey would also probably pair well with the other flavors in this dish.
2. In addition to green beans, you can also include such vegetables as eggplant, okra, or spinach when making ginataang gulay.
4. Ginataang gulay recipes often include 1 or 2 whole green or red chili peppers that simmer alongside the other ingredients in the coconut milk. If you’re not a fan of peppers, you can do as I did and not include them.
5. Another common ingredient from similar recipes that I didn’t use is garlic, which is often sauteed at the same time as the onion. I left this out of my version since I am currently trying to minimize cooking with high-FODMAP* foods (as once recommended by our family pediatrician). Both onion and garlic are considered high-FODMAP foods, so I opted to just use onion and avoided using garlic. Perhaps next time, however, I could make garlic-infused olive oil ahead of time and use that when I’m sauteeing the vegetables. That way, we could have the flavor of the garlic without the actual pieces of garlic in the dish.
*FODMAP is an acronym that stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols, all of which are different groups of carbs that can trigger digestive comfort when they are consumed by some individuals. Onion and garlic both contain oligosaccharides, so I decided to include only one of them in my dish.