Ginataan - Coconut Milk with Sweet Potato

Coconut Milk with Sweet Potatoes (Ginataan) and Multi-cultural lunch

Ginataan - Coconut Milk with Sweet Potato

Last week, as part of a team engagement in the office, we decided to have a multi-cultural lunch.  This way, team members all get involved and learn more about one another and their culture.  Our team in the office consist of many different nationalities – Indian, Filipino, El Salvador, Chile and Japanese.  Some bought lunch, others cooked their lunch and brought it in the office to share with the team.   There were curries, noodles and even a dip for chips!  I made a traditional Filipino dessert with sweet potatoes and coconut milk called Ginataan.  This is a very typical south-east asian dessert.  Ginataan simply means to cook food with coconut milk. There were a lot of ingredients that I didn’t get to include as I was simply short of time.  It usually includes lady finger bananas, jack fruit, tapioca and sometimes cassava.

Sweet Potatoes

Funny looking things they are!

Besides not including the bananas and tapioca, I also made a teeny tiny mistake with this dessert.  I overcooked the potato just a tad and I may have just added too much potatoes as I couldn’t put enough sticky rice balls with it. I made this at 5am so I blame it on my sleep deprivation (I burnt my finger, tongue and mouth making this!).

If you would like to have a go at this, here’s the recipe:

2x orange skin sweet potato (peeled and diced)
2x purple skin sweet potato (peeled and diced)
2x 400ml coconut milk
2Tbsp sugar

1/2 cup of glutinous rice flour
about 1/3 cup of water

Put glutinous rice flour in a medium bowl and add water in small quantities.  Mix together until it forms a play dough like texture.  Take a small piece of dough and roll it into a ball.  Continue making balls until the dough is finished and set them aside.  You can also refer to my palitaw recipe for steps.  In a large pot, boil the coconut milk and immediately add the potatoes and sugar. Mix well.  Lower the heat and simmer for 5-7 minutes.  Mix the potatoes and then add the glutinous rice balls and leave for another 5 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.   Serve warm not hot as the potatoes and glutinous rice balls will be very hot inside.


–  I was going for the thick, runny consistency of the coconut, that’s how I usually like it but as I mentioned before, I made a mistake with this dessert.  I put too much potatoes (hence it dried up a little bit). You can avoid this by just using 2 small/medium sweet potatoes instead of 4.

– You only need to eat a little bit of this as it can be filling (potatoes and coconut milk!)

I promise to re-visit this recipe with the complete ingredients.

I took some photos of the other dishes with my camera phone so some may not look visually appealing. Silly me, I forgot to bring my digital camera.  Visually appealing or not, they were all yummy.

Multi Cultural Lunch

Top Left: Relleno   Top Right: Spring Rolls
Bottom Left: Butter Chicken   Bottom Right: Chicken Curry (recipe at the bottom)

Top Left:  Vegetarian Curry    Top Right: Ginataan – Coconut Milk with Sweet Potatoes
Bottom Left:  Upma    Bottom Right: Guacamole (recipe at the bottom)

For those that want to try out the chicken curry and guacamole, see recipes below.  My team mates were kind enough to give out their secret (not anymore) recipe!


2x ripe avacodo
half or 1/4 finely chopped onion
finely chopped Fetta Cheese
squeeze of lemon
and salt for taste
You can also add 1 hard boiled egg finely chopped

Mash the avocado and mix with all ingredients.  Voila! You have guacamole!

Chicken Curry for busy people

store bought BBQ chicken
1 can coconut cream
curry powder – any kind
onion finely chopped
a couple of whole chillies (if you want spice, chop up the chillies)
basil leaves or curry leaves

Put all  ingredients in a large pot, and simmer to blend all ingredients.  Season with salt and pepper.  If coconut cream starts to reduce, add a little bit of water.

Happy Eating!



  1. So what did they think of Filipino food? :) have you tried making those sticky-rice balls with cocomilk instead of water? :) it still looks nice even though it dried up. In our region that would be classified as sweetened kamote

    1. hey ziggy… i think they liked it. no one fainted or went blind hihihi… i’ve actually never tried mixing the sticky rice flour with coconut milk, never even thought of it. might try it next time, thanks for that. having a sweet potato craving, i think i’m going to make kamote que now :D

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