Sunday, December 28, 2014

Stir-Fried Luffa with Shrimp (serves 4 as part of a shared meal)


I love eating luffa or ridge gourd, also known as muốp in Vietnamese. They are sweet and do not break apart or become mushy during cooking. These may be found in Asian markets in the United States. Despite going to the market in An Trạch (Vietnam) at a later hour (around 2pm) lucky for me a few vendors were still there selling their vegetables. The meat vendors sold all of their meat and left for the day which is a good thing since they sell the meat in the open tropical air without refrigeration. It is safer and best practice to shop at these open markets in Vietnam at the opening. My cousin Ken told me that in Soctrang the vegetable market opens up later in the afternoon since the farmers need to have a little time to harvest their produce. There are many ways to prepare luffa. However, here is another way that I prefer to eat this delicious gourd.

luffa or ridge gourd (muop)
Ingredients:

1 Tbsp oil
2 small shallots, peeled, halved, sliced paper thin
2 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
1 Tbsp grated ginger (about 1 adult thumb nail size)
1 scallion, cut into 1-inch lengths
About 1/2 cup small fresh shrimp, peeled (may add more if interested)
5 young luffa (about 8-12 inch long) or about 1.7 lbs, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch thick
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp fish sauce
A pinch of salt (optional)
1 tsp sugar
Some cilantro, garnish (optional)

Method:

1) Heat a wok or large pan over high heat. Once the wok or pan is hot add oil.
2) Add shallots, garlic, ginger and scallions. Saute about 30 seconds.
3) Add shrimp. Saute about a minute. Remove contents or pull them to the side of the wok to prevent further cooking.
4) Add the luffa and water, saute about 5 minutes or until the slices are soft to your liking.
5) Add oyster sauce, fish sauce, salt, and sugar. Stir until everything is well blended. Cook for another 1-2 minutes. Remove and add cilantro on top to garnish if interested.

shallots (these are about 1-inch in diameter)
fresh live shrimp
nearly empty market in An Trạch (Vietnam)
at a later hour (around 2pm)
open air meat market in
Soctrang, Vietnam (2014)
*If interested you can check out my previous blog posting, Sauteed Angled Luffa & Egg.

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