All The Ways You Can Cook Kalabasa
Use any of these techniques to cook it differently every time.
You can do more than just simmer kalabasa¬†on the stove. In fact,¬†your dishes might be better off if you didn't just boil it!¬†If you roasted the kalabasa instead of just boiling¬†or steaming chunks¬†in water, you will actually develop more flavor, caramelize the natural sugars, and create a more flavorful dish with¬†roasted kalabasa than steamed ones.¬†
Here's what to do: Remove the seeds and trim the rind of a quarter portion. Cut up the¬†kalabasa into small cubes. Lightly toss in cooking oil, and sprinkle with salt and ground black pepper to taste. Transfer to a baking sheet and roast at a preheated 375 degrees F or 190 degrees C oven for about 15 minutes.¬†Use a toothpick or a knife to pierce the kalabasa chunks to test for tenderness then remove it from the oven. Let cool and toss into your favorite kalabasa dishes or prepare as the recipe instructs.¬†¬†
1 Puree it into a creamy soup.¬†
There's a reason why even fine dining menus will feature a creamy¬†kalabasa soup as a starting course. It's just really delicious and can be universally well-loved! You can make it elegant or fancy at home, too. If you do want to jazz up the presentation of this soup to fine dining status, make a batter and¬†top this simple soup with a deep-fried squash flower. It's not just pretty; it is totally edible and delicious, too.
If you roasted the kalabasa, this is just a simple step of mashing or pureeing the¬†chunks into chicken broth and adding a touch of cream to the mix. If not, simply prepare the kalabasa and¬†saute it with onions before adding water or stock and simmer until tender before mashing into a smooth and creamy soup.¬†¬†¬†
2 Mash it.¬†
You can certainly make ginisang or ginataang kalabasa. Why not decide to elevate your dish into a dish that's still delicious but a little different than that everyday dish with just an additional step? Mash the kalabasa instead of leaving it in chunks. This mashed kalabasa recipe with bits of shrimp and malunggay¬†leaves is from Bacolod and it's a fantastic side for any fried dish you may want to serve.¬†
3 Deep fry¬†it.¬†
You can certainly toss it around in a¬†stir fry such as in an Ilocano version of the pinakbet or¬†pakbet recipe. However, the other way of doing this is to slice it up into strips¬†and use it¬†instead of bean sprouts in okoy. This unique way of making okoy gives the veggie fritters a delicious sweetness that's carried over to¬†the carrots and the shrimps that are still present in this version.¬†¬†
4 Add to soup.¬†
The kalabasa isn't just for stir frying. You can also chuck¬†cubes of these into this vegetable and seafood dish from the South. It's a healthy mix of vegetables that are commonly found in many backyards plus a few shrimps from the sea to give it a delicious umami that you can get no where else.¬†You can even skip the seafood and just make it with all vegetables!¬†
5 Make a dip or side.¬†
Who said that all kinds of mash are made with potatoes? This version is made with kalabasa which gives¬†it a signature sweetness to the mash that pairs¬†well with the bacon and the pork chop it's served with. You can also¬†mash it with carrots to make a delicious dip for other vegetable sticks or crackers for a snack that's intriguing with its unique texture.¬† ¬†
6 Add it to salad.
When it's been roasted, kalabasa is¬†sweeter than when it started. This makes a delicious addition to salads. It makes it heartier with¬†its chunkiness and it tastes delicious with greens, dried cranberries, and other fruits that¬†are also sweet in their own way.
Tossing these kalabasa chunks with garlic makes it a savory addition to the table that makes a delicious substitute for¬†potatoes for a warm salad that's sure to be satisfying.¬†
7 Add to spaghetti sauce.¬†
Yes, you can be sneaky about it and let the kids be the judge whether it's delicious or not. Carrots as well as kalabasa¬†are masked or finely chopped to mimic the chunkiness of spaghetti sauce.¬†
Count how many ways you can think of to use kalabasa in your cooking and let your imagination be your guide!¬†¬†¬†
Thinking about what to cook next? Join our Facebook group,¬†Yummy Pinoy Cooking Club, to get more recipe ideas, share your own dishes, and find out what the rest of the community are making and eating.¬†
Got your own version of the classic dishes? Pa-share naman!¬†Get your recipe published on Yummy.ph by submitting your recipe here.