Ginisang Upo at Hipon

Bottle gourd, or upo to us Filipinos, has to be the easiest Asian vegetable to prepare. Not only does its delicate flesh require only but a few minutes to cook, its mild taste also works well with various additions. Ginisang upo at hipon is one of my favorite ways to cook this vegetable. I like to enjoy it on its own when I want something light but I love it just as much over steamed rice and paired with fried fish. Delicious!

Ginisang Upo at Hipon
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Yield: 4 Servings
  • ½ pound head-on shrimp
  • 2 medium upo (bottle gourd)
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 small onion, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • ½ cup shrimp stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
For the Shrimp stock
    • reserved heads from peeled shrimp
    • 1 cup water
  1. Peel and devein shrimp, reserving heads. In a bowl, combine shrimp heads and 1 cup water. With the back of a spoon, mash heads to fully extract juice. Strain liquid. Discard shrimp heads and reserve liquid.
  2. Cut and discard ends of upo. Using a peeler or a paring knife, peel skin. Cut the gourd lengthwise. If interior is “too spongy” and has mature seeds, remove spongy flesh using a spoon and discard. Slice gourd lengthwise into halves and then slice into ½ inch-thick pieces.
  3. In a wide pan over medium heat, heat oil. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring regularly, until aromatic. Add tomatoes and continue to cook, mashing regularly with back of spoon, until softened. Add fish sauce and cook for about 1 to 2 minutes. Add shrimp and continue to cook until color changes to pink.
  4. Add upo and stir gently to combine. Add shrimp stock and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook for about 5 to 6 minutes or until upo is tender yet crisp.
A mature gourd will have a spongy interior and mature seeds. For better results, choose young gourd.

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