What to cook this week? I found an abundance of upo or bottle gourd at the Asian market. So, I cooked Upo Guisado with Pork. Guisado translates to sauteed, and this is one of my easiest go-to dishes for lunch or dinner, any day of the week, when this vegetable is in season.
I grew up seeing my father grow upo in our backyard in the Philippines. He explained to me that as the upo grows, it takes on the shape of the large bottle which is often placed next to its vine. I found that fact fascinating. Afterwards, my mother would cook Upo Guisado often for our meals after Dad and I harvested the produce.
The other day, at the Asian market, I found a shorter, smaller-sized upo, which yielded the right number of servings for two people. This sauteed dish cooks quickly. The sizzle and aroma of the garlic and onions in the wok never fails to hypnotize me. I added the pork cubes, a robust contrast to the simplicity of the soft, silky upo. The vegetable cooked in minutes, and transformed to translucent cubes. The savory aromas lured us to the table right away. I hope it does the same for you, as well.
Upo Guisado with Pork
- 1 Large Wok or Skillet - 10 to 12 inches diameter
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 whole medium-sized onion, chopped
- 1 Tablespoon patis (fish sauce)
- 1 whole large tomato, chopped, about 3/4 cup
- 500 grams pork shoulder cubes, cut about 1/2-inch sized pieces
- 1 cup broth, vegetable or pork
- 3 cups cubed upo (bottle gourd), cut about 1/2-inch sized pieces
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon black peppercorns
- steamed rice
To prepare the upo (bottle gourd):
- Wash the entire outer part of the upo with soap and water. Pat dry with a towel.Peel off the outer skin. The inner flesh will be a light green color.Slice the upo open, horizontally, in half. Use a spoon to remove the seeds and white spongy parts inside the cavity.Slice the light green flesh into 1/2-inch sized cubes. Set aside.
To saute the Upo Guisado:
- In a large wok, or skillet, over medium-high heat, add the oil.Saute the garlic, and onions. Pour the patis.Add the tomatoes. Combine with the rest of the ingredients. Saute for 1 to 2 minutes till tomatoes soften.Add the pork cubes. Braise the pork for 2 minutes to brown slightly.Pour the broth. Add the upo cubes.Season with salt, pepper and peppercorns. Cover and cook for about 12 minutes till pork is cooked, and upo turns translucent.Serve warm with rice.
- If I use a large upo, often there is too much of it, and I only use half of the gourd. If there is leftover, uncooked upo, cover the entire gourd with plastic wrap, then alluminum foil. Store in the refrigerator. Use within 1 to 2 days.When I have leftovers of the Upo Guisado with Pork, I transform it into an Upo Omelet. Click here for the recipe.
Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided in the recipe links is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.
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