As a child, Edwin's mom told him, "If you want to eat, you should cook it yourself." And that's exactly what he's been doing ever since.
What Are Upo and Bagoong?
Upo, aka opo, is a common type of squash found in Asia. It is similar to a zucchini. Typically, it is peeled and seeded before cooking, though if the seeds are still tender they can be eaten. This squash is often included in soups and stews.
Bagoong is a condiment made by combining salt with shrimp (or another type of fish) and allowed to ferment. It's very salty and can be used in seasoning dishes or used for dipping. It has a very pungent odor, so it's an acquired taste.
This recipe uses both ingredients to create a traditional Filipino stew.
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- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tablespoon bagoong (shrimp paste), available at Asian stores
- 1 cup frozen shelled and fully cooked prawns, thawed
- 1 small upo squash, cut into 1-inch cubes
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Thaw out the frozen, shelled, and fully cooked prawns.
- Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
- Sautee the garlic until brown.
- Add the bagoong (shrimp paste).
- Add the upo squash and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until upo is tender.
- Add the thawed prawns and cook for 1 more minute.
- Season with salt and pepper to suit your taste.
- Use other types of squash such as zucchini.
- Use fresh prawns instead of the frozen. Make sure to shell and devein the prawns first.
- Season with soy sauce or fish sauce instead of salt to suit your taste.
- For a spicier dish, add sliced chili peppers.