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Ginisang: What is This Filipino Cooking Method?

by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  October 21, 2022

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Ginisang is a Filipino term that means “to sauté.” It is a cooking method where food is cooked in oil over high heat until it is browned or crispy.

This method is often used for cooking meats, vegetables, and seafood. Ginisang dishes are often flavorful and aromatic due to the addition of spices and other ingredients.

What is ginisang

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Ginisang upo

Ginisang upo is a Filipino dish that uses gourd and pork (or spinach and shrimp) as primary ingredients. The gourd and pork are sauteed with garlic, tomatoes, and onions, and the dish is served as lunch or dinner.

The dish’s flavor is relatively mild, with minimal use of spices. The ingredients used are also fewer.

So what shines in a perfectly prepared ginisang upo is the natural flavor of gourd and pork, along with the mouthwatering aromas of garlic and onions. 

Though it originates from the Philippines, there’s very limited historical data available about ginisang upo. It’s difficult to say whether it’s an original creation that roots solely in the Philippines or is inspired by similar dishes from other cuisines. 

Ginisang upo is mainly made and eaten in areas of the Philippines where gourd grows in abundance and is one of the country’s most famous and easily affordable dishes.

Just so you know, this method of cooking upo (or gourd) is also quite prevalent in South Asia. The only difference is the use of beef or mutton in place of pork.

Ginisang repolyo

Ginisang repolyo is a Filipino cabbage recipe where the cabbage is sauteed with garlic, onion, and carrots. In this case, it also contains pork, but Filipinos also really love to combine the sauteed cabbage with shrimp.

It’s a simple recipe that’s the perfect hearty lunch or dinner meal. The garlic and onion give it a savory flavor, while the carrots add a touch of sweetness and crunch. Then a hint of ground black pepper completes the simple seasoning mix.

The pork provides protein and makes it a more filling meal. While ginisang repolyo can be a simple vegetable recipe, many people like to add meat or seafood to make it more flavorful.

In the Philippines, ginisang repolyo is commonly served with rice. It can also be enjoyed with other Filipino dishes, such as adobo or sinigang.

The dish is believed to have originated from China, and it was eventually brought over to the Philippines by Chinese immigrants.

The name “repolyo” is actually derived from the Chinese word for cabbage, which is “qing cai.”

Over the years, the dish has evolved and been adapted to suit the Filipino palate. For example, many Filipinos like to add fish sauce (patis) or oyster sauce to give it more flavor.

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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.