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From our beloved song “Bahay Kubo” we find a list of fruits and vegetables that so often populate Filipino gardens and backyards. The song lists ingredients ranging from radishes to squash, string beans to tomatoes, garlic, onions, and ginger! It’s a testament to how much Filipinos love our vegetables — and how creative we can get while using them. Among the crops listed in Bahay Kubo is upo — or bottle gourd, in English. This huge, green vegetable is a favorite in the kitchen for its easy use, adaptable nature, and mild yet somewhat sweet taste. But have you yet to find the upo recipe that’s right for you? Look no further; today, we’re listing four of the most popular upo recipes that you and your family are sure to love!
What is upo? And what are its health benefits?
Before you get started on your upo recipe of choice, it’s a good idea to understand what exactly upo is. Upo is recognizable under different names, like bottle gourd, long melon, and opo squash. But the “proper” name of this vegetable is actually calabash! Green, round, and so long it can actually stretch up to a meter long, calabash has been around for quite some time. In fact, the earliest evidence of it exists some time in 8000 – 9000 B.P. from China and Japan!
Indeed, people have been using and eating upo for centuries. Part of why, of course, are the different health benefits that stem from this ingredient! For one, upo helps in improving digestion, being rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber. Being extremely low-calorie, it also aids in weight reduction, and its high potassium content makes it perfect for the healthy heart. With high levels of zinc as well, your heart is further protected from damage and prevents coronary artery disease!
What upo recipes should I start with?
You can definitely find any upo recipe that can suit your preference depending on how you’re feeling for the day. If you want something quick and easy, the first recipe, ginisang upo na may sardinas, may appeal to you. Meanwhile, for those who like their dishes soupy during rainy seasons, misua with upo and ground pork or chicken tinola may be the way to go. Lastly, ginataang upo works best for those craving something refreshing and creamy! There’s an upo recipe for any mood — and regardless of what mood you’re in, each recipe is equally easy to make!
Ginisang Upo na May Sardinas
This is an upo recipe that’s flavorful, bright, and definitely does your upo justice! After sautéing your garlic and onions in a pan, add the slices of upo or bottle gourd when the onion softens. For 3 minutes, let this cook before adding Knorr Liquid Seasoning for that extra yummy taste. Next, add the sardines with tomato sauce into a pan and add a cup of water. Cover it and cook on low for 1 to 5 minutes. To get rid of some of that fishy taste, squeeze lemon juice over your dish. Season it with a final touch of salt and ground black pepper, and it’s ready to serve!
Misua with Upo and Ground Pork
Looking for the comfort of noodle soup while also wanting it slightly healthier? This upo recipe’s got you! Similar to other recipes, we start by making your misua soup. Sauté onion and garlic in a cooking pot, then add half a pound of ground pork. Separate it into pieces, and continue cooking until it achieves a nice brown color. Then, add 1 Knorr Pork Cube and 4 cups of water.
After bringing this to a boil, cover your cooking pot and allow it to cook for 5 minutes — after which you will add 3 cups of upo and an ounce of misua or vermicelli noodles. Cover your pot again, cooking for the last 5 to 7 minutes. Add green onions, and season with fish sauce and ground black pepper to taste. Your final touch of toasted garlic, and your misua with upo and ground pork is ready! Serve it hot and enjoy during a slow, soothing day.
As we all know, Filipinos love ginataan recipes; with upo, this is surely no different! For those who are a fan of this rich and sweet coconut milk, this upo recipe is the one for you.
Make this by sautéing onions and garlic in a pan, then add 3 cups of upo slices. Sauté for two minutes, then add dried anchovies. Vinegar is next, for that sharp and clean cut through the rich flavors. In a separate glass, meanwhile, combine 1 ½ cups of water and Knorr Ginataang Gulay Mix before stirring. Pour this mixture into a pan, then let it boil and continue cooking for about 3 minutes. Add your chili peppers for that extra kick of spice, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes more. Like your misua, season this upo recipe with fish sauce and ground black pepper. Transfer it to a serving bowl, and serve it with heaping cups of white rice!
The last (but definitely not least) upo recipe on our list is the tasty chicken tinola. Now this is definitely a Filipino classic; tinolang manok has been a mainstay in several Filipino kitchens for as long as we can remember. Usually, we make this dish using hearty, sweet papaya. But upo is equally versatile, useful, and delicious in this dish!
In a large cooking pot, sauté your onion, garlic, and ginger. Once the former softens, add your 5 ounces of chicken, cut into serving pieces. You want your chicken to be light brown, so continue sautéing until you get this color. When you do, pour 5 cups of water and bring this upo recipe to a boil. Add in a Knorr Chicken Cube and bring your heat down low, letting your dish cook for another 15 minutes — make sure the cover’s on! After, add your bottle gourd and boil for 3 more minutes. Toss in 1 ½ cups of spinach, season with fish sauce and ground black pepper — and just like that, you’re done! Serve your tinolang manok piping hot, and share and enjoy it with your loved ones!
Easy, inexpensive, and delicious — each upo recipe listed here is a joy to make, and a joy to enjoy, too! Which upo recipe is your favorite? How do you cook your upo? Let us know in the comments below!
Ginisang Upo na May Sardinas:
Misua with Upo and Ground Pork:
- Make the ginisang upo with sardinas by sauteeing garlic and onion in a pan. Add the bottle gourd once the onion softens. Continue cooking for 3 minutes. Add Knorr Liquid Seasoning. Pour the sardines with tomato sauce into the pan and add ½ cup water. Cover and cook for 1 to 3 to 5 minutes. Squeeze lemon and then season with salt and ground black pepper. Serve.
- Make the misua soup by sauteeing onion and garlic in a cooking pot. Add the ground pork. Continue cooking while separating it into pieces until it browns. Add Knorr Pork Cube and water. Let boil. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Put the bottle gourd and misua. Cover and cook for 5 to 7 minutes. Add green onions and season with fish sauce and ground black pepper. Add toasted garlic. Serve hot.
- Make the ginataang upo by sauteeing onion and garlic in a pan. Add the bottle gourd. Saute for 2 minutes and then add the dried anchovies. Pour the vinegar. Combine 1 ½ cups water and Knorr Ginataang Gulay Mix. Stir and pour into the pan. Let it boil and continue cooking for 3 minutes. Add chili pepper. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Season with fish sauce and ground black pepper. Trransfer to a serving bowl. Serve with rice.
- Make the chicken tinola soup by sauteeing onion, garlic, and ginger in a cooking pot. Add the chicken once the onion softens. Saute until the chicken turns light brown and then pour 5 cups water. Let it boil. Add Knorr Chicken Cube. Reduce heat to low setting. Cover the pot and continue cooking for 15 minutes. Add bottle gourd and boil for 3 minutes. Put the spinach into the pot. Season with fish sauce and ground black pepper. Serve hot.