Ginataang Hipon with Pako

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Coconut milk, locally called gata, is among the favorite ingredients of Filipinos. Ginataan dishes have existed even before the Spanish colonization. It is not only used in stews, soups, and savory dishes, but also in local desserts or delicacies called kakanin which varies from province to province. Because coconut trees are abundant in the country, it is not a surprise that many recipes make use of coconut milk. For this recipe, we are using gata as the base of a savory shrimp and fiddlehead dish.

The unique characteristics of coconut milk adds linamnam to the dish, giving its overall flavor more depth. A white hue with a hint of orange coming from the cooked shrimp, bright green from the fiddlehead fern and chopped kamias, and the vibrant red from the tomatoes and chilies used as garnish makes it a colorful and appetizing dish. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing to the eye, it is also a treat for the taste buds.

Ginataang Hipon with Pako


– Oil, for searing
– Shrimp heads
– 1 whole garlic, minced
– 1 pc onion, minced
– 1 thumb ginger, minced
– 4 pcs green chili, chopped
– 1 ½ cup coconut milk
– 2 bunch pako
– 100g shrimp
– 1 cup fresh kamias, chopped
– Season with patis

For the salsa:

– 1 pc tomato, chopped
– 4 pcs kamias
– 1 pc red chili
– 1 tsp fish sauce


1. Cut the fern and rinse it.

2. Peel the shrimps. Remove the tail and keep the head.

3. Cook the shrimp heads and shell in oil until it is a bit toasted, then discard the shells. Make sure to keep the oil. Add the garlic and gata (coconut milk) to the shrimp oil. Let it simmer.

4. Add the pako (fiddlehead fern). Keep mixing gently until the pako wilts. Once the pako has wilted, add the shrimp. Then add the kamias. Season with patis.

For the salsa:

Dice the tomatoes. Chop the kamias and chilies. Season with patis. Toss it altogether, then place on top of the cooked dish.

This dish gives you the savory ginataan flavor profile and the freshness of salad with the salsa on top. It is ideally served with warm rice.

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