Have you ever heard of Utan Bisaya before? For locals of the Visayas or those with Visayan origins, Easy Utan Bisaya (or Law-Uy) is a vegetable soup made with the freshest of vegetables boiled in water. It is similar to another popular vegetable soup, bulanglang.
We know we have to thank the Visayans for some of our favorite hearty meat dishes. The Cebuano favorite Lechon has become a popular food enjoyed at celebrations across the country. Chicken Inasal is a favorite that you can enjoy not just at home, but at popular food chains. And who can forget the fantastic Pork Humba?
Truly, Cebuanos, Hiligaynons, Boholanos, and other Visayan people have given us some of our favorite protein powerhouses. But Utan Bisaya stands in stark contrast to the heavy, hearty meat meals we’re more familiar with. Utan Bisaya’s direct translation is “Vegetables, Visayan style.” Indeed, this humble dish boasts an array of vegetables you could easily grow in your backyard. Inexpensive and accessible, making Utan Bisaya doesn’t require much experience, either! By just boiling these veggies in water, this soup brings out the natural flavors of these vegetables –– making it all around a perfectly healthy broth.
The Utan Bisaya we’re making today is the simplest version that I made. While you can choose to add any meat or fish at all, this recipe does not call for any. The Knorr Shrimp Cube flavors the dish. However, feel free to add fish or any protein ingredient if you prefer.
Making Utan Bisaya is really quite simple. If making the original iteration of this dish is already easy enough, this is even easier.
The most important step to preparing your Utan Bisaya is chopping all your vegetables –– and there are a lot of them! The vegetables of Utan Bisaya include: eggplant, okra, ginger, lemongrass, spinach, squash, and string beans! Isn’t that an incredible (and insanely nutritious) list?
More than just the actual cooking process, Utan Bisaya is a dish with ingredients that require extensive preparation. Here is what you’ll have to do before cooking:
This sounds pretty daunting already, doesn’t it? While the actual cooking of Utan Bisaya doesn’t take too long, you may have to reserve a bit of time for preps instead. Don’t fret, though; it’s definitely worth the wait!
Let’s start cooking Easy Utan Bisaya. Boil 2 cups of water in a cooking pot. Add lemongrass and ginger. Don’t forget to cover the pot. Boil these for 5 minutes. This is enough time for the flavors to be extracted.
I usually remove the lemongrass after boiling and add the vegetables that take some time to tenderize, like taro and squash. Cook these veggies for 5 minutes.
When your 5 minutes are up, add Knorr Shrimp Cube and continue cooking for 3 minutes. Add in all the remaining vegetables afterwards –– except the spinach! This is so your spinach doesn’t wilt or overcook in the pot for too long. Stir your vegetables in the pot, incorporating them all in the water, then cover it. Let your Utan Bisaya cook for another 7 minutes, or until your veggies become more tender.
Once your 7 minutes are up, toss in your spinach and season with salt to taste. Turn the heat off on your stovetop, but keep the pot covered. This will let your spinach cook for about a minute with the residual heat.
Transfer your Utan Bisaya with Gata to a serving bowl –– and there you have it! Serve it with individual soup bowls and nice, warm cups of rice. Share and enjoy!