Gisadong Upo at Hipon (Sauteed White Squash with Shrimp)

Growing up in the Philippines, I remember a television ad that said “I’d walk a mile for a Camel,” the camel being a brand of cigarettes. Why I still remember that commercial is beyond me since I don’t smoke.  But I can definitely say, “I’d walk a mile for Upo.”  While a common vegetable in the Philippines, one would seldom see upo in mainstream groceries or supermarkets in the U.S., but I’m lucky to live in the Bay Area where Asian grocery stores abound.  Still,  one has to find specific groceries that carry this vegetable.  Through word of mouth, I was able to find a small grocery store in San Jose that sells upo on a regular basis.  I didn’t walk a mile for it. I drove eleven miles each way.

Upo is a white squash that makes for a delicious sauteed vegetable dish, especially when mixed with shrimp.  It goes very well with fried meat or barbecue, but it can stand on its own both as a soup and an entree, with steamed rice, of course!

INGREDIENTS

2 medium-sized upo (white squash), peeled and cut into bite-size crescent slices

1/2 lb shrimp, peeled (do not discard head and tails)

1/2 onion, chopped

2 fresh tomatoes, diced

4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 cup water

2 tbsp Olive oil

Salt & pepper to taste

Fish sauce to taste

DIRECTIONS

In a sauce pan, boil water

Add shrimp heads and tails and let simmer for about 10 minutes

Discard shrimp heads and tails and set aside the juice

In a large wok, heat oil

Add garlic and saute until golden brown

Add onions and cook until tender

Add tomatoes and cook for about 3 minutes

Add shrimp until they turn pinkish

Add in upo

Pour shrimp juice

Let simmer until vegetables reach desired consistency without overcooking

Add fish sauce to taste

Season with salt & pepper to taste

(Makes 2-4 servings)

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