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ulterior epicure

Mystery Chinese Squash/Gourd

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I recieved some seeds from a Chinese chef through a friend. The closest description I got was "gourd" - but I'm hoping these are edible too.

You can read all about my mystery squash/gourd here as well as see a picture of it. Can anyone help me identify this plant?

Thanks!


“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

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It is a type of bottle gourd Lagenaria siceraria(Click). There are numerous types and this was the veg used in Europe until the introduction of New World squash which have yellow flowers.

Confusingly, his type of gourd is also found in the New World as it is thought to have floated across the Atlantic from Africa to the America's.

I believe that they can be extremely bitter, but some varieties more then others and there are ways of dealing with them. In Sicily, a non-bottle shaped variety is used (Click) and I have seen the regular bottle shaped type used in Morocco.

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The book I have on Chinese vegetables identifies it as "bottle gourd," woo lo gwa in Cantonese. Its use was legendary in ancient China as a receptacle to transport water or herbs, but it's rarely seen on contemporary tables.

The book describes it as fine-grained and mild when picked young; older gourds become tough.

Cook like any summer squash. Chinese uses include soups and stir-fries. You can also cut off the top, remove the seeds, and fill the gourd with soup or stuffing before cooking (recipe does not supply quantities -- treat like "winter melon pond" soup).


SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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The ancient Chinese used the dried guord to contain water, wine or herb (??), or just about anything when they travelled. It is pretty handy because the dry guord is quite hard and tough and waterproof. Because of the narrow neck, all you need is a bit of cloth or something to seal the top.

As to how to cook it... probably just treat it like winter melon. (I have never eaten one.)


W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

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The book I have on Chinese vegetables identifies it as "bottle gourd," woo lo gwa in Cantonese. Its use was legendary in ancient China as a receptacle to transport water or herbs, but it's rarely seen on contemporary tables.

The book describes it as fine-grained and mild when picked young; older gourds become tough.

Cook like any summer squash. Chinese uses include soups and stir-fries. You can also cut off the top, remove the seeds, and fill the gourd with soup or stuffing before cooking (recipe does not supply quantities -- treat like "winter melon pond" soup).

Suzy -- It does seem as if we have the same vegetable book. (Dahlen/Phillips)

Good book! Even tho the pictures are in watercolor, they are well depicted, and the information with each vegetable is great.

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Suzy -- It does seem as if we have the same vegetable book.  (Dahlen/Phillips)

Good book!  Even tho the pictures are in watercolor, they are well depicted, and the information with each vegetable is great.

Yup! Mine's the 1983 first American edition. Quite dogeared by now (and proud of it!). :biggrin:


SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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I recieved some seeds from a Chinese chef through a friend.  The closest description I got was "gourd" - but I'm hoping these are edible too.

You can read all about my mystery squash/gourd here as well as see a picture of it.  Can anyone help me identify this plant?

Thanks!

Iy is called hu lou in pu tong hua and is commonly grown and used in ancient times to store herbal medicine and water. They dry and carve the gourds and sell them on many markets but can also be eaten fresh. The Chinese people believe it has strong cooling characteristics.

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