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Showing posts with label ridged gourd. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ridged gourd. Show all posts

November 30, 2022

Chinese Okra Boosted with Protein

Did you know that Chinese okra is also known as Angled luffa, Vietnamese gourd, silk squash, and sponge gourd? 

Chinese okra is easy vegetable to cook with and can be boosted for nutrition with soy nuggets. We like using Nutrela brand soy nuggets. This brand offers the soy product in large and small chunks as well as granules. Soy nuggets are tasty and are a good source of protein. 

Today's dish is one of my favorites because the soy nuggets absorb the flavor when cooked with the Chinese okra.  When I eat the curry with rice, the juices come out and it's yummy. 

- Chinese okra*, 1 lb peeled and cut into 1" pieces
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- ½ cup soy nuggets (Nutrela mini chunks), soak in warm water for 15 to 20 minutes
- 2 to 3 green chilies, finely chopped
- ½" piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- ½ Tbsp Dhanjeera* powder 
- ½ Tbsp brown sugar or Jaggery
- 1 Tbsp Dry coconut powder
- 1 Tbsp sesame powder (optional)
- 1 tsp salt (or as needed)
- 1/8 tsp Turmeric powder
- Cilantro, chopped ( for garnish)

Ingredients for seasoning
- 1½ Tbsp Vegetable oil
- ½ tsp Mustard seeds
- ½ tsp Cumin seeds (jeera)
- 1 tsp urad dal (black gram lentil)


Step 1 - Transfer the nuggets into a colander and run them through the water and allow them to drain off the excess water. Set aside. 

Step 2 - Heat oil in a nonstick frying pan on medium heat. Add urad dal and stir for 30 to 45 seconds and follow it up with mustard and cumin seeds. 

Step 3 - When they sizzle, add dhanjeera and turmeric powder. Stir for 10 seconds and then add green chilies, ginger, and onion. Stir for a couple of minutes and then add squash, drained nuggets, brown sugar and salt. 

Step 4 - Mix well and cook under closed lid on medium heat. Stir intermittently and after 6 to 8 minutes, the squash will turn soft and release plenty of water. At this time, remove the lid and continue to cook until the squash is well cooked and water is absorbed. The curry may seem to look slightly oil. 

Step 5 - Next add coconut and sesame powder and mix well for 30 seconds and remove from heat. Transfer into a serving bowl and garnish with cilantro and enjoy it with warm rice, quinoa or rotis. 

Quick Tips
1) You can substitute zucchini squash for Chinese okra as well. 
2) Dhanjeera powder is powdered cumin and coriander seeds.

If you like this recipe, check out our other recipes with Chinese okra like the Sweet and Sour Chutney and the Skintastic Gourd Stir Fry

October 27, 2010

Is Chinese Okra, Okra's Distant Cousin?

If you read our post about Sweet and Sour Toast, then you will know the vegetable I will be cooking with today. Ah, yes...the infamous Chinese Okra.

In some ways, I believe Okra and Chinese Okra are related. If you look at them closely, they both have similar ridges on the surface. Do they have anything else in common?

I did some digging to find out what else they have in common. Unfortunately, my research only took me so far. Here are my results: they both have the word okra in their name and they have ridges. To further my disappointment, I found many recipes from various cultures for okra and not a lot for the other one. I thought because it is called Chinese Okra, it must be popular in China. However, my East Asian friends told me that it's not so. Even in India, this vegetable is not commonly found in the North; it's mostly available in South.

Man, this vegetable is so unappreciated.  😡 What a pity!  Lucky for us, we are South Indian and we know how to use this vegetable for its potential.

We have come up with 4 recipes and are excited to share them with you. We shared the first recipe with you back in September: Chinese Okra Chutney. Don't forget to read about it, if you haven't already.

The second one is quite interesting since it is made from the skin of the vegetable. You heard it correctly, I said SKIN and this recipe is mainly popular in Andhra Pradesh. So give it a try!

It is called Skintastic gourd with Lentils and the ingredients and procedure are listed below:

  • 3-4 medium Chinese okra (also known as Ridged gourd/Tori)
  • 1 big, chopped finely Onion
  • ½ cup Gram dal / channa dal
  • 2 Tbsp Grated coconut (dried)
  • ½ tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp Red chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 Tbsp Vegetable oil

 Let's see how it's made

1) Wash squash thoroughly and cut the end and peel the ridges to remove strings (shown in video below). 

2) Now peel the green skin. The actual flesh inside can be saved and used for making another curry or chutney (shown in video below).

Cut the peel into 1-2 inch pieces and place them in the chopper and chop them coarsely.


3) Transfer the coarse peel into a pressure cooker, add 2 cups of water, channa dal, turmeric powder and salt. Mix well and pressure cook for 5-6 minutes. (Please Note: it can also be cooked in a saucepan on stove top until the dal is cooked but firm, might take 10 – 15 minutes.)

4) After pressure is relieved, open the lid and immediately strain the contents using a fine mesh strainer. Use a paper towel in the colander if fine mesh strainer is not available.

5) In a saucepan heat the oil on medium heat. Add mustard and cumin and allow them to crackle, then add onions and sauté them until transparent. Add chili powder and mix well. Now add the drained squash and channa dal and mix well. Place a lid and cook for few minutes (approx. 5 minutes).

6) Add coconut powder and mix well.Then you are ready to remove from the stove. Serve it hot with rice or rotis.