Monday, June 20, 2011

Acorn Squash in Coconut Milk

Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
Sauteed vegetables are quite common as a side dish to the numerous meat dishes in a Filipino meal. It usually involves sauteing any green leafy vegetables with garlic and onions and seasoning with soy sauce, fish sauce or even shrimp paste (depending on the region). Cooking in coconut milk though is something not very traditional in the region where I grew up at. However, we do enjoy a few dishes cooked in coconut milk specifically a stew of fresh water snails and yams that my mom makes to name one. 

Sauteed squash cooked in coconut milk is something I learned while living in the US with friends who grew up from other regions of the Philippines. I actually grew to love it for several reasons: one, it is a healthy dish and two, it is very easy to make. The only tricky part is peeling the acorn squash (I've nicked myself a couple of times doing this) which is what I prefer to use for this dish. If you feel like skipping this part though, you can always buy the pre-cut version available in select grocery stores.

Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
Why acorn squash? Well, the texture and flavor are very similar to the squash that we have back home. I have used a variety of winter squashes including but not limited to the butternut squash but the flavor always seems off. So I stick to the acorn squash which I think has the right sweetness and the firm texture to counter the slightly strong flavor of the coconut milk in the dish. I use very minimal flavoring allowing the squash to be the star of the dish which in itself is quite good. Additional greens are added in the form of green beans and spinach leaves which further adds to the nutritional value of the dish.

Acorn Squash in Coconut Milk

Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
2 lbs acorn squash, peeled,   cored and sliced into   chunks
2-3 cloves garlic
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 lb green beans, cut in   half
2 lbs spinach leaves
1 16oz can coconut milk
1 cup broth (your choice)
salt and pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
1 bulb garlic, peeled and   sliced thinly and toasted* (to garnish)

1. Saute the garlic and onion in olive oil over medium heat. 

2. Add the squash and season with salt and pepper. Add the broth and  
    half of the coconut milk and simmer for about 10 minutes. Check  
    regularly to make sure the squash is not getting overcooked. 

3. Add the green beans and simmer uncovered until it turns bright green.

4. Add the spinach leaves and cook until wilted. Add the rest of the  
    coconut milk and adjust the flavor with salt and pepper.

5. Garnish with toasted garlic.

* To toast the garlic, heat 3 tablespoons of light olive oil over low heat and add the garlic. Toast until the garlic turns golden brown. Drain the toasted garlic on a paper towel and use the garlic infused oil to cook the dish. Spinach is also optional if you are not too fond of it and the dish can stand on its own without it.

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