Gata Recipe

Delicious Gata Recipe: A Creamy Filipino Coconut Milk Stew for Exquisite Dining



  • Cuisine: Filipino
  • Category: Main dish
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Servings: 5
  • Calories: 400 calories

About this recipe

Gata is a popular ingredient used in Filipino cuisine that holds a special place in the hearts and taste buds of many Filipinos. It refers to coconut milk, a creamy liquid extracted from grated coconut flesh.

Coconut milk is an essential ingredient in numerous Filipino dishes, adding a rich and distinct flavor to various recipes. It is a key component in creating creamy and savory sauces, stews, and desserts. Gata is known for its ability to impart a delightful tropical taste and a velvety texture to dishes.

To obtain coconut milk, the process typically involves grating the white flesh of a mature coconut and then squeezing it to extract the liquid. This liquid is the thick and creamy coconut milk, which is commonly used in Filipino cooking.

Some people prefer to make their own coconut milk from freshly grated coconut, while others opt for the convenience of canned coconut milk, readily available in stores.

In Filipino cuisine, Gata is widely used in dishes such as Ginataang Gulay (vegetables cooked in coconut milk), Ginataang Manok (chicken cooked in coconut milk), and Bicol Express (a spicy pork dish cooked in coconut milk). It acts as a base that enhances the flavors of the other ingredients while providing a velvety consistency to the dish.

Gata is also a key ingredient in many traditional Filipino desserts. From classics like Biko (sweet sticky rice) and Bibingka (rice cake) to more intricate sweets like Ginataang Halo-Halo (a medley of fruits, beans, and sweet potatoes in coconut milk), Gata adds a creamy and indulgent element to these delectable treats.

Coconut trees are abundant in the Philippines, and their versatility is showcased through the extensive use of Gata in Filipino cuisine. Whether it's a savory main course or a delightful dessert, the inclusion of Gata brings a distinct tropical flavor and a touch of creaminess that make Filipino dishes truly special.

Recipe origin and background

The Gata recipe has its origins in the Philippines. In Filipino cuisine, "Gata" refers to dishes that use coconut milk as a primary ingredient. Coconut milk, which is extracted from the grated flesh of mature coconuts, is a staple ingredient in many Filipino dishes, imparting a rich and creamy flavor to the food.

Coconut milk-based dishes like Gata are deeply rooted in the culinary traditions of the Philippines, where coconut trees are abundant and play a significant role in the country's agricultural landscape. The use of coconut milk in Filipino cooking can be traced back to the pre-colonial era when indigenous communities utilized coconuts in various aspects of their daily lives, including cooking.

Gata is a versatile recipe, and it can be prepared with different types of meat such as chicken, pork, beef, or even seafood. The dish often includes aromatic ingredients like onions, garlic, and ginger, which add depth of flavor. Gata is typically seasoned with fish sauce (patis) and may be spiced up with chili peppers for those who prefer a bit of heat.

This coconut milk stew has become a beloved comfort food in the Philippines and is commonly enjoyed with steamed rice. It showcases the country's tropical flavors and reflects the cultural importance of coconuts in Filipino cuisine.

Why try this Gata recipe?

You should definitely try the Gata recipe for several reasons:

  1. Rich and Creamy Flavor: Gata, or coconut milk, adds a rich and creamy flavor to dishes that is both comforting and delicious. It imparts a tropical essence that elevates the overall taste profile of the recipe.
  2. Versatility: The Gata recipe is incredibly versatile. You can use different meats like chicken, pork, beef, or even seafood to create variations of the dish. This allows you to customize the recipe to your liking and experiment with different flavors.
  3. Cultural Experience: Trying the Gata recipe provides an opportunity to explore Filipino cuisine and experience a taste of its vibrant flavors. It allows you to connect with the culinary traditions and cultural heritage of the Philippines.
  4. Easy to Prepare: The Gata recipe is relatively simple to prepare, making it accessible for both novice and experienced cooks. With basic ingredients and clear instructions, you can easily recreate this Filipino dish in your own kitchen.
  5. Comfort Food: Gata-based dishes are often considered comfort food in Filipino cuisine. The creamy and aromatic qualities of coconut milk create a warm and satisfying meal that is perfect for cozy gatherings or a solo treat.
  6. Pairing with Rice: Gata dishes are traditionally enjoyed with steamed rice, which helps balance the flavors and textures. The combination of the creamy stew and fluffy rice creates a delightful contrast that is truly enjoyable.
  7. Health Benefits: Coconut milk used in Gata recipes contains healthy fats and nutrients, including lauric acid, which is known for its antimicrobial properties. It also provides a good source of vitamins and minerals.

By trying the Gata recipe, you open yourself up to a new culinary adventure, exploring the richness of Filipino flavors and enjoying a comforting and flavorful dish that will leave you craving more.

What does Gata taste like?

The taste of gata, or coconut milk, can be described as rich, creamy, and slightly sweet with a distinct tropical flavor. It has a smooth and velvety texture that adds a lusciousness to dishes.

Coconut milk has a unique flavor profile that is both refreshing and indulgent. It carries the natural sweetness of coconuts, which adds a subtle hint of sweetness to recipes without being overly sugary. The taste of gata is often described as nutty and mildly aromatic, with a delicate fragrance that enhances the overall flavor of the dish.

When used in savory dishes, gata provides a smooth and creamy base that balances and enhances the flavors of other ingredients. It has a mild sweetness that complements the savory elements, creating a harmonious blend of flavors.

In desserts, gata adds a delightful richness and creaminess, making it a perfect ingredient for creating sweet treats. The combination of its tropical flavor, creamy texture, and subtle sweetness makes gata an integral part of many traditional Filipino desserts.

Overall, the taste of gata is unique and adds a distinct character to dishes. Its rich and creamy nature, coupled with a touch of natural sweetness, makes it a beloved ingredient in Filipino cuisine and a key component in creating flavorful and comforting meals.

What is in Gata?

  • Chicken (or your choice of meat): Chicken is commonly used in Gata, but you can also use pork, beef, or seafood. The meat provides the main protein component of the dish and adds flavor to the stew.
  • Coconut milk: This is the star ingredient in Gata. Coconut milk is made by extracting the liquid from grated coconut flesh. It adds a creamy and rich texture to the dish while imparting a distinct coconut flavor.
  • Onion: Chopped onions are added to provide a savory and aromatic base for the stew. They contribute depth of flavor to the dish as they cook.
  • Garlic: Minced garlic adds a pungent and flavorful element to the Gata. It enhances the overall taste of the stew and complements the other ingredients.
  • Ginger: Sliced ginger adds a subtle spiciness and warmth to the dish. It also contributes a distinctive aroma that pairs well with coconut milk.
  • Cooking oil: Cooking oil is used to sauté the onions, garlic, and ginger, ensuring they release their flavors and aromas.
  • Fish sauce (patis): Fish sauce is a common condiment used in Filipino cuisine. It provides a salty and umami flavor to the Gata, enhancing the overall taste profile.
  • Green chili peppers (siling pansigang, optional): These peppers can be added if you prefer some heat and spiciness in your Gata. They add a kick of spice to the stew.
  • Salt and pepper: These basic seasonings are used to enhance the flavors of the dish and balance the taste according to your preference.
  • Fresh cilantro or spring onions (optional for garnish): These herbs can be used as a garnish for added freshness and visual appeal.

Equipment required for this recipe

  • Large pot or pan: A large pot or pan is essential for cooking the Gata stew. It should be spacious enough to accommodate the ingredients and allow for simmering.
  • Knife and cutting board: These are needed for chopping the onions and mincing the garlic. A sharp knife and a sturdy cutting board will make the preparation process easier and safer.
  • Grater (for fresh coconut, optional): If you choose to use fresh coconut to extract the coconut milk, you will need a grater to grate the coconut flesh. This helps in obtaining fresh coconut gratings for the milk extraction process.
  • Stirring utensil: A spoon or spatula is needed for stirring the ingredients while they cook. It helps distribute the flavors and prevents the stew from sticking to the bottom of the pot or pan.
  • Steamer (for banana leaf wrapping, optional): If you choose to wrap the Gata in banana leaves for added aroma and presentation, you will need a steamer to cook the wrapped portions.

How to make Gata

Indulge in the rich flavors of Gata, a creamy Filipino coconut milk stew. This easy recipe will transport you to the tropics in every bite. Try it today!


  • 1 kg chicken, cut into serving pieces (you can also use pork, beef, or seafood)
  • 2 cups coconut milk (fresh or canned)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 thumb-sized ginger, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce (patis)
  • 2-3 pieces green chili peppers (siling pansigang), sliced (optional for added spice)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh cilantro or spring onions for garnish (optional)


  1. Heat the cooking oil in a large pot or pan over medium heat.
  2. Sauté the onions, garlic, and ginger until fragrant and the onions are translucent.
  3. Add the chicken (or your choice of meat) to the pot and cook until it is lightly browned on all sides.
  4. Pour in the coconut milk and bring it to a gentle simmer. Let it cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add the fish sauce (patis) and season with salt and pepper according to your taste. Stir well to combine.
  6. If you prefer a spicier version, add the sliced green chili peppers to the pot.
  7. Cover the pot and let it simmer for another 20-30 minutes or until the chicken (or meat) is cooked through and tender.
  8. Stir occasionally to prevent the coconut milk from curdling. If it starts to curdle, reduce the heat and stir gently.
  9. Once the meat is cooked and the flavors have melded together, remove from heat.
  10. Serve the Gata hot with steamed rice. Garnish with fresh cilantro or spring onions if desired.

How to serve Gata

  1. Prepare individual serving bowls or plates: Get the desired number of bowls or plates ready, depending on the number of servings you plan to serve.
  2. Rice: Gata is traditionally enjoyed with steamed rice. Cook a batch of white rice separately, following your preferred method. Fluff the rice with a fork to ensure it's light and fluffy.
  3. Ladle the Gata: Using a ladle, carefully scoop the Gata stew into each serving bowl or plate. Make sure to include a generous amount of the flavorful broth, meat, and any other ingredients.
  4. Garnish (optional): If desired, you can garnish the Gata with fresh cilantro leaves or chopped spring onions. These herbs add a pop of freshness and a splash of color to the dish.
  5. Serve hot: Gata is best enjoyed when it's hot and fresh. Bring the bowls or plates to the dining table and serve them while the stew is still steaming.
  6. Accompaniments: Place the cooked rice on the side, allowing each person to add it to their bowl of Gata according to their preference. Some people prefer to pour the Gata stew over the rice, while others prefer to enjoy them separately.
  7. Enjoy: Invite everyone to dig in and savor the flavors of the Gata stew. The combination of creamy coconut milk, tender meat, and aromatic spices is sure to delight the taste buds.

Rated: 4.9 of 5.0 from 536 reviews.

Recipe Tags: Gata, Gata Recipe, Recipe, Top rated

What to serve Gata with

Gata, being a rich and flavorful dish, pairs well with a variety of accompaniments that complement its taste and texture. Here are some options for what you can serve with Gata:

  1. Steamed Rice: Rice is a staple accompaniment for Gata and is commonly served alongside the dish. The fluffy and neutral taste of steamed rice balances the creaminess of the coconut milk stew.
  2. Garlic Fried Rice: If you want to elevate your rice accompaniment, you can prepare garlic fried rice. Sauté minced garlic in oil, then add cooked rice and stir-fry until well-coated and aromatic. Garlic fried rice adds a delicious garlicky flavor that pairs exceptionally well with Gata.
  3. Crusty Bread: A crusty bread like a baguette or dinner rolls can be a delightful addition to Gata. The bread can be used to soak up the flavorful broth or to enjoy alongside the stew. It adds a different texture and provides a satisfying element for dipping and savoring the sauce.
  4. Vegetable Sides: Gata is a versatile dish that goes well with various vegetable sides. Stir-fried or steamed vegetables like bok choy, spinach, or green beans can provide a refreshing and nutritious balance to the rich flavors of the stew.
  5. Pickled Vegetables: Pickled vegetables, such as atchara (Filipino pickled green papaya), can provide a tangy and crunchy contrast to the creaminess of Gata. The acidity of pickled vegetables helps cleanse the palate and adds a pop of flavor to the meal.
  6. Fresh Salad: A light and fresh salad can serve as a refreshing accompaniment to Gata. Choose a salad with crisp greens, juicy tomatoes, and a zesty dressing to balance the richness of the stew.
  7. Sliced Tropical Fruits: As a nod to the tropical flavors in Gata, you can serve sliced tropical fruits like mangoes, pineapples, or bananas on the side. The sweetness and juiciness of these fruits complement the flavors of the dish and provide a refreshing contrast.

My recommendations and tips

  1. Quality Coconut Milk: If using canned coconut milk, opt for a good quality brand that has a rich and creamy consistency. Check the ingredient list to ensure it contains only coconut milk without any additives or preservatives. If using freshly extracted coconut milk, choose mature coconuts for the best flavor and yield.
  2. Adjust the Thickness: The thickness of the Gata stew can be adjusted based on your preference. If you prefer a thicker consistency, simmer the stew uncovered for a longer time to allow the liquid to reduce. If you prefer a thinner broth, you can add a little more coconut milk or water.
  3. Balancing Flavors: Taste the Gata stew as it cooks and adjust the seasoning accordingly. If it needs more saltiness, add a small amount of fish sauce. If it needs a touch of sweetness, you can add a pinch of sugar or a drizzle of honey. Balancing the flavors will help enhance the overall taste of the dish.
  4. Spice Level: If you enjoy spicy food, you can add sliced chili peppers or chili flakes to the Gata stew for some heat. Adjust the amount according to your spice tolerance. Keep in mind that some Gata recipes, like Bicol Express, are inherently spicy.
  5. Simmering Time: Allow the Gata stew to simmer on low heat for a sufficient amount of time. This helps develop the flavors and allows the ingredients to become tender. Be patient and give the stew enough time to infuse with the aromas and spices.
  6. Ingredient Variations: Feel free to customize your Gata recipe by adding additional ingredients. Vegetables like eggplant, squash, or leafy greens can be included to make it a more substantial and nutritious meal. Experiment with different meats or seafood for a variety of flavors.
  7. Garnishing: Before serving, consider garnishing the Gata stew with fresh cilantro leaves or chopped spring onions. The vibrant colors and fresh herbal aroma can elevate the presentation and add an extra layer of flavor.
  8. Leftovers: Gata often tastes even better the next day as the flavors continue to meld. Store any leftover stew in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Reheat gently on the stovetop, adding a little water or coconut milk if needed to adjust the consistency.
  9. Enjoy the Experience: Cooking and enjoying Gata is a culinary journey that allows you to embrace the flavors of Filipino cuisine. Embrace the process, have fun, and don't be afraid to experiment and make the recipe your own.

Potential ingredients substitutes

  • Coconut Milk: If you don't have coconut milk on hand, you can use coconut cream or canned coconut cream as a substitute. Dilute it with water to achieve the desired consistency. Alternatively, you can blend unsweetened shredded coconut with water and strain it to extract homemade coconut milk.
  • Fish Sauce (Patis): Soy sauce can be used as a substitute for fish sauce. While it won't provide the exact same flavor, it will add a savory and salty element to the dish. Start with a smaller quantity of soy sauce and adjust according to taste.
  • Meat: The choice of meat is flexible in Gata recipes. If you don't have chicken, you can substitute it with other proteins such as pork, beef, or seafood like shrimp or fish. Adjust the cooking time accordingly, as different meats may require different cooking durations.
  • Onion and Garlic: If you run out of fresh onion or garlic, you can use their powdered counterparts. Onion powder and garlic powder can be added to the dish during cooking. However, note that fresh onion and garlic provide a more pronounced flavor and texture.
  • Ginger: If you don't have fresh ginger, you can use powdered ginger as a substitute. However, fresh ginger offers a more aromatic and zesty flavor, so it's best to use it if possible. Adjust the quantity of powdered ginger to taste.
  • Green Chili Peppers: If you prefer a milder version or don't have access to green chili peppers, you can omit them or use a small amount of chili powder or red pepper flakes for a hint of spice. Adjust the quantity based on your spice preference.

Additional note

  1. Coconut Milk Separation: Coconut milk can sometimes separate or curdle when heated. This is a natural process and does not affect the taste or quality of the dish. Simply give it a good stir before serving to incorporate the separated components.
  2. Adjusting the Saltiness: Be mindful of the saltiness in the dish, especially when using fish sauce or soy sauce. It's easier to add more saltiness later if needed, so start with a smaller quantity and adjust gradually as you taste the stew during the cooking process.
  3. Storage and Reheating: If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Gata can be reheated on the stovetop over low heat, stirring occasionally. You may need to add a little water or coconut milk to adjust the consistency as it thickens when refrigerated.
  4. Experiment with Herbs and Spices: While traditional Gata recipes stick to a few key ingredients, don't be afraid to experiment with additional herbs and spices. Consider adding lemongrass, turmeric, or kaffir lime leaves to enhance the flavor profile and add complexity to the dish.
  5. Dietary Considerations: Gata is naturally gluten-free and can be made suitable for various dietary preferences. For a vegetarian or vegan version, you can substitute meat with tofu or tempeh and use vegetable broth instead of meat-based broths.
  6. Customizing the Heat Level: Adjust the spiciness of the dish according to your preference. Increase or decrease the amount of chili peppers or chili flakes to achieve the desired level of heat. Remember, it's always easier to add more spice, but it's difficult to reduce it once it's too spicy.
  7. Serving Variations: While Gata is often served with steamed rice, feel free to explore other options. It can be enjoyed with noodles, quinoa, or even as a soup on its own. Get creative with how you present and pair it with other ingredients.

Final Remark

Experience the taste of paradise with this incredible Gata recipe. Elevate your culinary skills and delight your senses with the creamy, flavorful goodness of this Filipino coconut milk stew. Get ready to embark on a delicious journey!

Next Post Previous Post

Follow Lofty Recipes on GNews