Ginataang Gulay – Vegetables Simmered in Coconut Milk

Ginataang Gulay - Eggplants and Green Beans Simmered in Coconut Milk

Ginataan is a Filipino cooking technique where ingredients such as vegetables, seafood, or fruits are simmered in coconut milk. It can be sweet or savory depending on the ingredients — the term ginataan by itself refers to a warm dessert soup traditionally served in the Philippines as merienda, mid-afternoon snacks that help make the long wait between lunch and dinner more tolerable.

Eggplants and green beans make up the gulay or vegetable portion of this recipe. It can also include squash (kalabasa), bitter melon (ampalaya), and okra, but this recipe calls for the vegetables that cook quickest. This version is done in about 15 minutes after all the prepping is done.

This green and purple ginataan dish is exactly how I remember it prepared in our household. Incidentally, that same juxtapose of colors is the reason I wouldn’t eat it as a child. It reminded me of none other than Batman’s arch-nemesis, The Joker. I found his wide maniacal grin disturbing, but even worse, he also reminded me of clowns.

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recipe adapted from Gerry G. Gelle’s Filipino Cuisine: Recipes from the Islands

Ginataang Talong at Sitaw
Eggplants and Green Beans Simmered in Coconut Milk

makes 4 servings

Ginataang Gulay - Eggplants and Green Beans

1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, julienned
1 small onion, diced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 Japanese eggplants (or any varietal, about 1 pound), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 pound green beans, cut into 2-inch lengths
2 tablespoons fermented shrimp paste (bagoong alamang)
12 ounces canned or freshly squeezed coconut milk
hot chiles, to taste (optional)


  • Afraid of using stinky fermented shrimp paste? Once heated, it gets mellower and combines with the coconut milk to create a classic Filipino flavor profile. I can’t wholeheartedly recommend it, but substitute minced anchovies or plain salt to replace bagoong alamang.


In a heavy saucepan, saute the garlic, ginger, and onions in the vegetable oil over medium heat until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the eggplant and green beans and cook for 2 minutes while stirring frequently.

Stir in the shrimp paste, coconut milk, and hot chiles (if using). Cover the saucepan and simmer for about 8 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.

Taste and adjust the seasoning with either more shrimp paste or salt if necessary.

To Serve:

Serve as a side dish or main course with a bowl of steaming hot rice.

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26 Responses to “Ginataang Gulay – Vegetables Simmered in Coconut Milk”

  1. arundathi says:

    that looks fabulous – gonna have to try that without the shrimp paste… mmm.

    last blog post: Victoria Sponge Cake

  2. Christie@fig&cherry says:

    You are so funny thinking your dinner looked like a comic book character! It needed a flash of red chilli for his smile ;)

    Those butter beans look gorgeously fresh. Yum.

    I love simmering salmon fillets gently in coconut milk – they really soak up the flavour and stay perfectly moist.

  3. Tom Aarons says:

    What a hilarious, but slightly disturbing, set of associations. I’m not sure I’m ever going to be able to mix purple and green veg again! :)

  4. kat says:

    I love the fact this dish reminds you of scary clowns!

    last blog post: Dark Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes

  5. oggi says:

    I love the photos and the dish!

    last blog post: Homemade Greek-style Yogurt

  6. MyKitchenInHalfCups says:

    How marvelous to have the memory of these colors associated with the Joker. I think he’s always going to be pretty scary to a young child.
    As I’m over 20, I love the look of this dish and the flavors!

  7. Fearless Kitchen says:

    This looks great. I love things in coconut milk, and this looks like a way to get more veggies onto the table to boot. I’m with you on the clowns, btw.

    last blog post: Recipe: Sweet Bisteeya with Almonds

  8. Alexa says:

    I love to try new ways to cook my veggies. This is great! Thanks for posting it.

    last blog post: Just Lovely Orange Blueberry Muffins

  9. [eatingclub] vancouver || js says:

    LOL Yes, they do remind one of the Joker, now that you mentioned it.

    I wasn’t too big on coconut milk in savoury dishes when I was growing up, but I am warming up to it now. Though I could inhale down bowls of ginataan.

    last blog post: Mama’s Ampalaya (Bitter Melon)

  10. Christine says:

    These veggies look so good. I have all of the ingredients on hand, except green beans to make this dish. I’ll substitute zucchini. Thanks for sharing.

    last blog post: 148. Fried vegetables – Recipe

  11. Paula says:

    Oh my gosh, I just harvested a bunch of Japanese eggplants and was wondering what I should make with them! Ta Da! I would love to use the shrimp paste, but don’t have any, so I’ll have to try the anchovy route. This looks terrific, thanks for posting it!

    last blog post: I’ll Stop The World and Melt With You — Tuna Melts (Second Try At Posting!)

  12. Arundathi – Shrimp paste can be scary stuff :)

    Christie – I thought about that – Ran out of red chilies, though. Salmon sounds good simmered in coconut milk. I always overcook that fish.

    Tom – I was a kid with an overly active imagination I guess.

    Kat – I’m glad I got over that little phobia. I never enjoyed mcdonalds.

    Oggi – Thanks!

    Tanna – The guy was just so creepy. And yet he was wearing bright colors.

    Fearless – I love it when the eggplants soak up the coconut milk like a sponge.

    Alexa – And thanks for droopping by!

    Js – Me, too. I used to always associate it with dessert

    Christine – Zucchini sounds like a good idea, too.

    Paula – Japanese eggplants would be perfect for this. Hope it works out with anchovies.

  13. Life Chef says:

    Clowns totally freak me out too! This dish however sounds delectable!

  14. Gay says:

    I love anything with coconut milk. Or anything with coconut for that matter. We usually have squash with then ginataang gulay so it never looked like the Joker! Dried fish would work well instead of the stinky alamang.

    last blog post: Mushroom season in our backyard

  15. says:

    Weekend Herb Blogging #148: The Round-up…

    It’s always fun to write the round-up, but I always have some initial difficulties: Some entries ended in the spam-filter, some entries were very late.. Allow me some word for future hosts. Don’t send your entries at the last moment. Sometimes em…

  16. Elizabeth says:

    Your childhood reason for not eating this is hilarious.

    I love the idea of eggplant and green beans simmered in coconut milk. I can’t imagine leaving out the chillies….

    As for fermented shrimp paste, we’ve started substituting with anchovies. Sure, they aren’t quite the same because they’re missing the fermentation but they do offer a not unsimilar flavour.

    last blog post: no rise focaccia: turn it into flatbread (BBBwB)

  17. Nate says:

    Looks great, and I bet it tasted even better. I could certainly tuck into a bowl like that.

    Speaking of simmering things in coconut, this post reminded me of Eating Asia’s one on Buntaa Binuntaan:

    last blog post: Lazy Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho

  18. Kalyn says:

    I haven’t heard of cooking vegetables in coconut milk in this way, but it sounds delicious to me!

    last blog post: Recipe for Roasted Yellow Summer Squash with Sage-Pecan Pesto

  19. Dan says:

    Don’t be afraid of the bagoong (alamang) the smell can be a bit overwhelming at first … but what a bold flavour if cooked right. I’m a Canadian of English/French descent, and i absolutely love bagoong. Of course my better half is a filipina :-) … thanks for the recipe, i’ll surprise her with this one on the weekend.

  20. SHAIRA MAE says:



  21. SHAIRA MAE says:


    paramihin nyo ok

  22. SHAIRA MAE says:

    sarap ng ginataang talong at sitaw sarap yummy

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  24. kaye cze says:

    look’s d Delicious, tell my mom to cook this.. =D

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