Saturday, November 13, 2010

Chinese okra (or lufa, silk squash, ridged gourd, etc.)

It's too long to fit into one photo; in fact it was too long to fit into a grocery bag...y'all know which vegetable I mean.  It looks kind of like a starved cucumber, but actually is more like a zucchini.  Other than (marginally) its appearance, this vegetable has nothing in common with okra, and is definitely not slimy.  This is another winner, something I will be buying often. 

Again, the taste is quite mild, a bit like cucumber, hard to describe, but awesome, so it fits well into a stir fry with other, spicy, ingredients.  The skin is pretty hard, and the ridges actually are sharp, so you need to peel this squash.  It's okay if some of the inner green remains, however:

To cook it, I opted for a variation on the Cooking with the Single Guy's Ground pork with Chinese okra.  He uses ground pork; I substituted shredded seitan.  Here it is marinating  Oh, yeah!

Put it into a hot pan with a little oil and stir fry for a few minutes, then add the squash:

Cover, cook for another minute, then pour on a vegetable broth/cornstarch mixture and stir until that becomes saucy and translucent:

Now serve over rice.  I had mine topped with peanuts and green onions, with a few lotus root slices fried in sesame oil as a garnish:

Yum-O!  And nearly instantaneous.  It all came together in less time than it took the rice to cook.


  1. I think I've heard of this before under one of the alternate names you give: lufa...but I have never seen it (to my knowledge).

    Very interesting...I'm liking the sound of these squashy things that taste sort of like seems like there have been a few others in this series...very interesting.

    I have to say, that dish looks amazing. I'm with you with a big Oh Yeah! on the shredding/marinating seitan. The lotus root is so pretty, really appetizing.

  2. I'm more impressed with the casual use of Lotus Root. I've never seen it on any Chinese menus before.

  3. Thanks, Rose. Yes, I'm fascinated by squash, I'll admit it. Longtime zucchini-lover that I am, I'm pleased to see that there are these other vegetables similar, yet different, in some cases better...and they certainly do get one's attention in the grocery store.

    Shenandoah, lotus root is so last year for me (I introduced myself to it when I was doing my all-Japanese MoFo project last year). It's good, crispy and crunchy and devastatingly pretty all at the same time. I'd encourage you to seek it out.