Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Bac Ha Vegetable: About, How to Eat & Recipe Ideas

Bac Ha: Vegetable Superstar

With the massive universe of vegetables now available in most communities, it's time to venture outside of your food galaxy and do some interstellar travel. Set aside the staid vegetables of your mother's cupboards and live a little! Variety, as they say, is the spice of life.

Enter the fleshy vegetable known as bạc hà in southern Vietnam, also known as "dọc mùng"in northern Vietnam, "taro stem," "to-ran" (Korean), "giant elephant ear," "Colocasia gigantea," "Indian Taro," and "hasu-imo" in Japan. (Note: In northern Vietnam, bạc hà refers to a minty herb).

Read on for selection, storage, and recipe ideas!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Bengali Bottle Gourd Curry Recipe

Vegetarian Bottle Gourd (Opo Squash) Recipe

Wait...an Opo Squash Recipe?

That's right! After my exciting acquisition of an Opo Squash prompted me to share info and how-to's about this culinary workhorse, I decided to share an easy and tasty Opo Squash recipe.

After copious searching, I settled on what to make with my opo. A recipe from Rice N' Curry, Lau Doga Sukto - Bottle Gourd Stew, served as my template. I made some changes to the recipe for the sake of convenience, including swapping out hard-to-find ingredients for supermarket-handy ones. Thus adapted, I found it to be a light, tasty addition to my recipe repertoire -- a dish I'd happily make again.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Bottle Gourd (lauki, opo squash): Recipes & How to Eat

What can I say? My desire to try new raw ingredients has led me yet again to a new vegetable I've never tried before: Opo Squash. I picked it up on a run to the Ranch 99 store, which carries foods used in a variety of Asian cuisines.

As you can see, this is no small squash to mess with -- it's about a foot long and at least a good 4 or 5 pounds. Gigantic in terms of the closest common vegetable that comes to mind - a zucchini - but relatively underweight compared to, say, a newborn.

Upon bringing the opo squash (aka bottle gourd) home with my other haul of obscure (to me, at least) ingredients, I quickly got to work learning about it. Read on for notes on selection, storage, uses, recipes, and one recipe I decided to try!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Jujube Fruits (Red Dates): About and How to Eat

Jujubes! No, not the candy...

Welcome to another episode of "Fun, Weird Fruits"! While people who shop in Chinese markets will likely be familiar with jujube fruits (aka "red dates"), most of those who stick to the typical western grocery stores won't have encountered them.

For those not in the know: Jujube fruits have been cultivated in China for thousands of years. Although they are sometimes called "red dates," they aren't related to dates. They grow on a deciduous tree that sports shiny oval leaves, naturally drooping limbs and thorny branches.

Read on for selection notes, how to eat Jujubes, and a few recipe ideas.