Ginisang Upo and Spinach

Ginisang Upo and Spinach is a Filipino dish of stir-fried bottle gourd, tomatoes, prawns, and spinach that is then quickly braised on chicken stock.

My grandfather loves planting vegetables, especially the ones featured on this dish. I still remember we have a lot of vegetables grown at home and most of the time my grandmother just harvests them fresh and cooked minutes before it was gathered. We have all sorts of vegetables like tomatoes, moringa leaves, taro, chillies, sweet potato, peanuts, bottle gourd, chayote and bitter gourd to name some. We also have a lots of fruit bearing trees like soursop, papaya, avocadoes, and mangoes. What’s even more surprising is that we live in a heavily urbanized area, but since we had a bit of non-concrete grounds my grandfather managed to utilize that. I certainly miss those day, the vegetables are fresh and the excitement of watching the vegetables grow, sadly I don’t have a green finger like my grandparents did, so for me, I just resort to buying them.

Our dish today is one of the usual dishes my grandmother used to cook when I was young. Most of its ingredients can be home grown, like what my grandfather did. Most Filipinos grew up with something similar, a vegetable dish that is sauteed in garlic and onions with a bit of protein, a very common dish in the Philippines and it’s called Ginisa or Guisado. Dishes like such are quite simple to make, easy to prepare but the result was a delicious, nutritious and a dish that almost costs nothing to make as long as they grow it at home.

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Ginisang Upo and Spinach

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.5 from 2 reviews
  • Author: Raymund
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 30 mins
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Cuisine: Filipino


Ginisang Upo and Spinach is a Filipino dish of stir-fried bottle gourd, tomatoes, prawns, and spinach that is then quickly braised on chicken stock.


  • 1 big bottle gourd (about 15 inches in length), sliced 1 cm thick and 5 cm wide
  • 1 bunch spinach, trimmed
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 250 g shelled prawns
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • oil
  • fish sauce
  • freshly ground black pepper


  1. In a wok, heat oil then sauté garlic and onions.
  2. Add chopped tomato then cook for 2 minutes
  3. Add prawns then stir fry for 30 seconds
  4. Add the sliced bottle gourd, stir fry for 2 minutes
  5. Add chicken stock, fish sauce and sugar and simmer for 8 minutes
  6. Add the spinach, give it a mix, then simmer for 2 more minutes.
  7. Season with freshly ground black pepper and serve


15 Responses

  1. My mom likes to prepare bottle gourds in summer time, but she usually makes it with dried shrimp. I have never tried the combo with spinach though. Looks delightful!

  2. suituapui says:

    No moringa leaves? Great for health!

  3. I have good memories of my grandfather’s garden too! Your dish looks delicious!

  4. Gosh, this looks terrific! Always crave spinach at this time of the year, and always am looking for recipes that use it (either in a starring or a supporting role). Nice recipe — thanks.

  5. Hannah says:

    I’m envious that you have such avid gardeners in the family! What bounty, and such a brilliant dish to make with it all. I’ve never cooked with bottle gourd before but I know I’ve seen it. I’ll have to try sometime.

  6. Y the Wait says:

    This looks amazing, so healthy.

  7. Michelle says:

    Never heard of bottle gourd before, at first I thought it was bitter gourd! I learn so much from you! This look incredibly comforting and nutritious 🙂

  8. I’ve never heard of bottle gourd before- maybe the shape is something like squash? Actually, the green vegetable in the photo looks sort of like zucchini! Looks delicious (“ang sarap”)!

    • Raymund says:

      A butternut squash shape or a ginormous zucchini, although it does not taste like either of them. The taste is similar to luffa but firm

  9. I love hearing about the memories of your grandfather’s garden. Having moved so far away from my grandparents when I was little, I have almost no memories of them… did they even have a garden? Like some of the others, I have never heard of bottle gourd, but will keep my eye open for it. It sounds like an interesting flavor and texture to add to Hynix stir fry.

  10. Eva Taylor says:

    I’ve not seen this type of gourd here, I’d probably have to go to an Asian market. It looks delicious and satisfying. Sadly we don’t have enough sunshine on our property, I’ve tried growing veggies many times without a lot of success. Plus the squirrels and birds always eat them before we can get to them, which is really annoying.

    • Raymund says:

      Yup those birds are annoying, we have a plum tree before and it bears a lot of fruit. The birds eat most of them luckily they spare a bit for us

  11. Kat says:

    Can I check where you got the upo here in Auckland? Thank you 🙂

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