Ginataan: The Origin Of This Coconut Milk Dish

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Ginataan, alternatively spelled guinataan, is a Filipino term which refers to food cooked with gatâ (coconut milk).

Literally translated, ginataan means “done with coconut milk”. Due to the general nature of the term, it can refer to a number of different dishes, each called ginataan, but distinct from one another.

Ginataang Salmon Recipe

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Origin of ginataang

Ginataang is a native dish of the Philippines that’s enjoyed by many Filipino families, especially on special occasions. It’s not known specifically where in the Philippines this recipe originated, but it seems like it’s well-loved by the whole country.

Given its appetizing taste, it’s not surprising why this dish is worth making, despite how a bit of a hassle it is to tend to an unripe jackfruit and get it ready.

Traditionally and until now, it’s been a main course dish that’s served together with a bowl of hot steamed rice or grilled meat or fish.

Ginataan and spicy dishes are native to Bicolanos, who reside in the Bicol region of southern Luzon, and ginataang tilapia is no exception when it comes to their creativity in cooking. The cuisine is prepared using “gata,” which involves a wide range of dishes, from meat to seafood and veggies.

Ginataang isda isn’t limited to tilapia, but can also involve other types of fish, as I’ve mentioned earlier.

Types of ginataan

Among other types of ginataan dish includes ginataang galunggong, ginataang yellowfin tuna, ginataang langka, and more!

Ginataang Manok

Ginataang Manok Recipe (Chicken Cooked in Coconut Milk)  is a variation of Ginataan, a simple and easy to make Filipino dish with a variety of ingredients from vegetables, all the way to meat, and seafood that is cooked with coconut milk.

Ginataang Manok, as the name suggests uses Chicken as the main ingredient, though it can have optional ingredients like papaya and malunggay if needed.

The main ingredients needed to cook Ginataang Manok are garlic cloves, cooking oil, chopped onions, chicken, fish sauce (patis), salt and pepper, and coconut milk.

Other ingredients that may be added are unripe papaya and malunggay, this makes the Ginataang Manok tastier, and at the same time, healthier.

Ginataang langka

Ginataang langka with tinapa flakes recipe is a traditional Filipino dish made from unripe jackfruit and coconut milk. It’s seasoned with smoked fish (or tinapa) to add to the flavor of the ginataang langka.

This tasty and nutritious dish is one of the many variations of ginataan, a delicious dish having meat, fish, and vegetables as its main ingredients.

This recipe is undoubtedly best served with warm rice at just about any meal. You can also see this dish at festivities like birthdays, weddings, or christenings. Aside from that, ginataang langka with tinapa flakes can also be a comfort food served in cold and rainy weather.

When you travel out of town, expect to also see this dish in small restaurants and carinderias along with other ginataan dishes like monggo ginataan, and malunggay ginataan with chicharon.

For about ₱50 to ₱75, you can have a bowl of this yummy ginataang langka.

Ginataang tilapia

Ginataang tilapia is a delicious Filipino dish that’s made from tilapia fish, coconut milk (or gata), vegetables, and seasonings. It’s a ginataan variant enjoyed by many Filipino families as an ordinary meal. It’s one of the easiest ginataan to cook and you can serve up the dish in less than 30 minutes.

Ginataang tilapia or fish cooked in coconut milk is a comforting dish typically served with rice. The dish offers many vitamins essential to the body. The tilapia fish alone is rich in vitamin B12, which supports the production of red blood cells and DNA, as well as keeps your brain system healthy.

Fresh coconut milk, on the other hand, is full of electrolytes, including phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium. For proper cardiac rhythm, potassium is crucial.

When you’re traveling around the country, expect to find this mouth-watering dish in carinderias and other small kainan.

Ginataang mais

Ginataang mais (or sweet corn rice porridge) is a delectable dessert snack in the Philippines that’s made out of corn maize, glutinous rice, coconut milk, and sugar. It’s best served during cold weather to provide warmth and comfort, or even in warm weather by adding ice cubes.

The recipe takes less than 30 minutes to prepare and is best served when hot. This delectable ginataang mais with rice pudding is mostly available at vendors or peddlers downtown.

It’s especially well-loved by Filipino children because of its sweet, creamy, and delectable taste that leaves a satisfying warmth after you’ve finished a bowl.

Ginataang mais with rice pudding is native to the Philippines. The Filipinos love the snack so much that they can actually serve it both cold and warm—just to have it.

Talk about pleasing your active and noisy children? Make them this dessert snack and they’ll be silenced by its flavorful taste.


Ginataan comes in many forms and it has a rich history and thick, creamy texture.

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Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.