Authentic Filipino Cuisine: Ginataang Kalabasa (Pumpkin in Thick Coconut Milk) – One Warm Sunday Morning

One Sunday Morning, I’ve invited some guests for Lunch in the apartment where I am staying, I used to invite friends over for dinner and a little chitchat with a bottle of Tequila when I was in Mexico but in Vietnam, I am still checking the waters trying to somehow know and eventually adopt to the norms and their culture, so lunch and an afternoon chitchat over some bottles of beer will do for now, and prepare two (2) of my all time favorite Filipino dish, the very popular and overly rice-consuming “Chicken & Pork Adobo” (Chicken & Pork Stewed in Vinegar, Soy Sauce, garlic and peppercorns) and the pungently rich and mouth watering “Ginataang Kalabasa” (Pumpkin Stewed in Thick Coconut Milk).

Based on my personal experience, locals usually do not accept invitation if the host won’t allow them to bring anything or take a part on the cost of whatever will be shared. And on this particular day, they only asked me to prepare just the drinks but I opt to make something to share (and show off) also the Authentic Filipino Cuisine while my colleagues, my friends (as I consider them), has brought Phở Cuốn, it’s like a version of a deconstructed Lumpiang Sariwa (Fresh Vegetables Spring Roll).

Fresh Lumpia credits to Kusina Chef

I always loved the local food I have tried, I guess the many write ups about the Vietnamese Cuisine and Traditional food are true. I haven’t been here long enough to say that I have tasted the best so far but most of the signature dishes I have tried, I could say that I will keep on coming back, for the food (big smile).

But the highlight, I felt proud that my colleagues, my friends, also liked the Filipino dishes that I have prepared, the “Ginataang Kalabasa”, specifically, which I didn’t expect, because honestly I find it hard to please their taste buds, they don’t like too salty, too sweet, too greasy food and the catch is, for me the too salty, too sweet, too greasy..tastes like normal (wondering). So they have requested for this, for me to share the recipe and the “how to”, thus, the “Ginataang Kalabasa Recipe”.


Ginataang Kalabasa Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 medium size Kalabasa (pumpkin-quả bí ngô), can possibly make 3 cups (cut into cubes)
  • 1 can (380ml) of Coconut Milk (sữa dừa), divide into 2 portions
  • 2 cups of Sitaw (String Beans-đậu chuỗi) or Asparagus (Măng tây) (cut into 1.5 inches length)
  • 1 cup (250g) shrimp (con tôm)
  • 400g Pork (thịt heo), sliced
  • 1 medium onion (củ hành), diced
  • 3 cloves garlic (tỏi), minced
  • 1 tbsp. of spring onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. Fish Sauce (to taste)
  • 1 tsp. of ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 1/2 cup water to boil the Pork
  • 2 tbsp. of butter

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter in a pan, saute the onion (until translucent), add garlic
  2. Add pork, stir fry until lightly brown, add the shrimp and the fish sauce
  3. Pour the water, boil for 10 minutes, add one part of the coconut milk (1/2 cup), simmer for another 10 minutes or until pork is tender
  4. Add the pumpkin and the remaining coco milk, simmer for another 10 minutes, then add the string beans
  5. Simmer until pumpkin and string beans are tender (another 5-10 minutes)
  6. Add the ground pepper and the spring onion, simmer for another 1-2 minutes. Serve.

So there, Thuy2, Thuy3 and Thuy4, yes, as you’ve guess, my guests have the same name only different pronunciation. This is how their name goes, Thùy, Thủy and Thúy (correct Thuys?–jaja).

They spent almost the whole afternoon of Sunday with me as we’ve enjoyed the chitchats over dessert, oh we didn’t prepare dessert (smiley eyes). Thank you guys, hasta la próxima semana!

Over a Fat Out Lunch with Bin, Jeem, Thùy, Thủy and Thúy

Day 16 Language Bloopers

This is a cheated blog post for Day 16 because I didn’t anticipate the busy days of an Accountant’s working schedule, we do not always have free time all throughout the month–because month closing and FS preparation is a staple activity for Accountants, and this reminds me that I always have to be forward looking, not only in Business and Financial Forecasting, but in everything I do and planning to do.

Coming here in Vietnam, in reference to my Language Challenge Post, it has always been my issue, communication. I used to be a conversationalist, I prefer talking face to face than just sending messages electronically, but I have to do things differently here, the write ups and stories about the challenges a foreigner might encounter in this country are very true and is happening to me right now.

At first, I thought it will be very easy for me to get used to the language as it was for me in Spanish when I was in Mexico, but no.. It is totally different, Vietnamese language is tonal and every single pronunciation, diction and tone matters, you might be thinking you are saying the right word but I bet you are not.

Even saying “Xin cám ơn”, meaning “Thank you”, is very hard to pronounce perfectly.

Personal Language Challenge

Not all Vietnamese people have a good command of foreign languages. Even if they do, they still lack the opportunities to practice their speaking. As they are afraid of making mistakes in their speech and losing face, they might not be confident enough to approach foreign tourists.

Navodatours. Com/blog

During my first few weeks of stay here, when somebody talks to me, in my mind I am constantly asking, “is she/he talking to me in English?”, my brain is so confused every single time. And my 4th month of staying here doesn’t make any difference, shamefully. Whenever somebody talks to me or we are discussing something in a group, I attentively listens and my brain is dropped dead focused on each sound the other person utters, but I am, nonetheless, a failure, more often than not, I still barely understand the conversation. And this happens most of the time during the Leaders Meeting which happens on a weekly basis.

So where’s the funny story?

I was I think on my 2nd month joining this Regular afternoon meeting where every leader gets the chance to voice out their concerns, inform activities and all, this is also the time when I have to present the Financial Results for the month. During the meeting, to cut the story short, we were discussing about projected results and a manager asked me about an “airfreight”, that was what I heard. She said, “how much is the airfreight? “, we were discussing about expenses at that moment, I am thinking why she suddenly asked about “airfreight” when it’s not even one of the major spents that we had for that month, so I keep on repeating “airfreight?”, for I think about four times. OMG if I have had a mirror in front of me at that moment, maybe I’d see a lot of question marks (? to infinity) on my face. Then suddenly, our Japs boss, maybe, had realized that I didn’t really get it, so he said, “average”, lol!!!

The second blooper happened just recently. As the usual routine, every leader had their turns to speak up and when it was the Local Accountant’s turn to speak, Oh girl, she’s looking at me. I know that she is talking about something that concerns me but God, honestly, I do not have an idea what she’s talking about, it was not really the topic that I didn’t understand instead not one of the words she had spoken I get to have a clear understanding. After she spoke up, all of the leaders inside the room were looking at me and I am, “What?”, and the leader beside me asked, “next week”, me, “huh”. And our Japs boss also asked, “next week, is it okay?”, on my mind, “Qué está pasando?”, what is happening goodness Gracious. And another leader on my right said, “Netsuite”. Thank God, “got it”, lol.

So that’s a bunch of embarrassment on my part but also lots a’ laugh!!!

Day 15 Drag Race

It is On once again… I received a notification from Netflix about the All Stars Season 5 of RuPaul’s Drag Race. It is now available in Netflix, woohoo! This is going to be sickening, gagging, shady, eleganza extravaganza! (I should be paid for the ads, don’t you think so).
screenshot_20200615_201308_com8833367762382678159.jpg

Notification from Netflix

That was the notification I got last night and I can’t wait to have my free time to watch this Season. For those people who are not into that gay thing much, I don’t think this matters. But for me, this has been my relief, my laugh medicine and inspiration to be free, to appreciate life and be happy. But what is “Drag” by the way?
“pull (someone or something) along forcefully, roughly, or with difficult” Google says.. The meaning of the word as the word it is
DRAG means “Inhale smoke from cigarette or joint” or “Dressed as a woman” According to Internet slang..
There are so many interpretations about “Drag”, some says, impersonation can be categorized as Drag, but how I see it, not exactly, Drag can be BIGGER than that. I said BIGGER because they usually have big wigs (big hair that is), and there is really a BIG transformation happening whenever a person is in Drag. I remember watching Season 1 of this TV show, I thought the television unit installed at the apartment had problems because the projected images were kind of blurry but as I went on watching the other Seasons, I’ve realize it was the image quality projected in 2009 when they did the 1st Season, Standard Definition. They keep on mentioning that during the run of the other season that follows that were televised in HD. screenshot_20200616_1407424084182045291098347.jpg There are these Two Drag Queens (they won their respective seasons) that I really admire the most, Jinkx Monsoon of Season 5 and Bianca del Rio of Season 6, but of course I am always rooting for Manila Luzon (love your own haha). What is it about these two Queens that made them stand out, they both are Witty and they both seem like beautiful people inside and out. Jinkx is very soft spoken for a drag queen while Bianca del Rio slays the roast. I remember one episode where all Drag Queens say the same opinion about Bianca, do not look into her eyes whenever she’s on stage or she will roast the hell out of you! That is how talented this Drag queen is.
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Photo from wikipedia.org

So there, this is just to give you a glimpse of one of my favorite Netflix TV show. So long my cheated Day 15 post.

Day 14 Another Gluttonous Weekend : Fat Out

It was harder than I think it is…doing the 30-day commitment.

I definitely am not in that travel writing mood, thus I will be just writing up my activities for this weekend, well today, specifically.

There is this one Netflix Series – – it’s a TV reality show I believe in the US–that I really enjoyed watching, it is taking away all that boredom out of me every weekend that I have to spent inside this lonesome apartment. Unfortunately, I’ve finished all the 12 Regular Seasons, the 4 Seasons of Secret Celebrity Challenge and the All Stars, uhm and more, the Shady Episode and the Untucked. So basically I do not have anything to look forward to from Netflix, so guess, I repeat watching the All Stars which stars Manila Luzon–she looks familiar, I think she/he’s (confused?) used to be a famous entertainment figure in the Philippines, anyways, she’s the one I am rooting for in that season but she (when she’s on drag) didn’t won the all stars, nevertheless, she’s very famous doing Drag.

Anyways that’s just a prelude to today’s topic.


The fat out weekend: Frozen Avocado Cream

I was planning to prepare an Avocado ice candy last week but I got lazy, so I was not able to proceed. But this week I made it a point to find time to go out and buy the very few ingredients for my what I called “Frozen Avocado Cream” – – I don’t wanna call it home made Avocado ice cream because I deviate from the reference recipe I got online.

This one is very easy to make, there are only 4 main engredients to prepare:

  • 2 pcs Avocado
  • 1 370ml pack of Condensed Milk
  • 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup of full cream milk

The reference recipe does not have the full cream milk, but I don’t want a very creamy, greasy Avocado cream so I opt to pour some milk to it instead of mixing just the pure heavy cream.

Deconstructed Recipe by Erithadongi
Whipped Heavy Cream
Avocado-Cream Mixture

I divided the Whipped Cream into 3 parts and fold each part in different timings to the Avocado mixture to create an even and smooth Avocado-Cream mixture. I also added tidbits of cream cheese about 40 grams to add a different flavor to the Avocado cream.

Ready to Freeze Avocado-Cream Mixture

I put the mixture in small paper cups, so I will just be taking out what I can consume later, and let the mixture freeze for at least 2 hours.

The Fridge looks like this- – I have The Avocado Cream and I still have Banana Cream cheese to finish.. Oh-oh

After 2 hours….

Avocado Cream Ice Cream Stick

It tastes much better than how it looks 😝. Another fat out weekend.. Carry forward to weekdays. 🙄