August 3, 2009
Here, where I live, we don't have much in the way of exotic food although things are getting better. Since last year or so (at least that was when I heard about it) we have a Vietnamese grocery store. There I can buy cream crackers, lemon grass, fresh baby bok choi and satay sauce. I usually make nasi every week and a big batch of peanut sauce every now and then, but since we have the Vietnamese store I can actually buy it canned.
This week I saw a large squash kind of vegetable, which I didn't recognize and I was told it was 'like okra', for which I don't particularly care, but I will try anything once and this was a success because after some googling it turned out to be calabaza, which made it considerably less exotic but easier to prepare. One chopped onion (golden brown), add very thinly sliced squash, (sort of) stir fry until glassy. (I let it cook for about 3 mins - then stir - 3 mins again and so on till it looks (under) cooked - you want it to have texture). Add fresh garlic; fresh tomatoes; a chili pepper (I took out the seeds because I didn't want it to be too spicy); a can of sweetcorn, pepper and salt and let it simmer for a while, being careful not to let the opo/calabaza/squash go mushy. When finished add fresh cheese and place under broiler till melted. This is a Mexican way of preparing squash. Great with Mexican rice and some chicken from the grill.
Someone who knows about vegetables told me that it's a bottle gourd and not part of the squash family. It's a lufa like the ridge gourd and snake gourd.