• Pretty Plate by Michelle

Cooking with Mama Hef: Ginisang Upo

I am so excited to share one of my first Filipino recipes with you and this will be the first of many!

For those of you that don't know me, I come from a very loud, extremely loving, foodie Filipino family. We love getting together frequently to just catch up, treat ourselves to our favorite family dishes and play a few games of bingo or poker. It's a tradition that I have cherished more and more throughout the years.

So, let's talk food. About this dish: it is known as Ginisang upo. Upo is the Filipino word for bottle gourd. My grandma used to make this for me all of the time growing up. This is easily in my top 5 favorite Filipino dishes and you will see why. It is a simple dish that is easy to make in 30 minutes and it tastes like home. I love drowning my white rice in this vegetable meat soup.


1 upo/bottled squash, peeled and cut into thin pieces

1 medium ripe tomato, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

Half of 1 onion, chopped

1/4 - 1/2 TSP salt ** NOTE: The more salt the better. But, if you do not want to add it to the dish while cooking, no problem. When serving, add more to your own plate by sprinkling a little more on top. It is perfection and adds more flavor! **

1/4 TSP black pepper

1 TBSP dried parsley

2 TBSP soy sauce

1/2 pound ground pork

2 TBSP vegetable oil

1 14 oz. can chicken broth


  1. In a medium sauce pan, heat oil over medium heat.

  2. Saute minced garlic until fragrant about 1-2 minutes. Add onions and tomatoes. Saute until onion are translucent.

  3. Add ground pork and cook until no longer pink.

  4. Add upo and cook for 2-3 more minutes.

  5. Add chicken broth. Cover and simmer on low heat for 7 minutes. Uncover and add seasonings and the soy sauce. Mix and stir well. Let all juices simmer for another 2-3 minutes or until squash is soft.

  6. Serve with steamed white rice on the side.

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