Since I try to be a good little locavore, the task before me (should I choose to accept it) is cooking Indian with what grows around me. Fortunately many of the same vegetables grown in India are also grown here. But every now and then I want that smack of bitter melon or long beans and I'm s**t outta luck as my dad says. So when I can't always get what I want, I get what I need and usually that involves zucchini.
Zucchini, like my husband's old college buddy Harry, always seems to be around and isn't always welcome. People say that when the world ends they'll be only two things left. Styrofoam and cockroaches. I'd like to nominate a third. Zucchini.
Zucchini are tricky. They're everywhere this time of year and nearly all times of year, and they're cheap. Cheap I cannot resist. When I market it's the siren song that rings in my ears. "Yo, Gori, I got your 99 cents deal right here!" It's always zucchini and I always take it home with me. Sort of like last call on a Saturday night at the Roxy... but no. That was the 70's, this is now and zucchini is in the house. So, what to do with it?! Cook it like the vegetable I do not have, that's what. Cook it like ridged gourd.
This, is Ridge Gourd.
But a zucchini when ripe can stand in for a Ridge Gourd aka Luffa. It won't taste exactly the same, Zucchini is more watery and the Ridge Gourd is sweeter, but if you are bored with the usual zucchini dishes, this works like a charm. Here's my adaptation of a Ridge Gourd recipe done with Zuccs. There are minimal ingredients so it's ready pretty darn fast.
Here's what to do:
Soak 2 Tbs of white poppy seeds in 1/2 cup of water for about 30 minutes, then drain them.
Grind them in a spice grinder or blender along with:
3 green chilies seeded and chopped
1/2 tsp of salt
Grind it to paste and set it aside.
Chop 1 lb of zucchini into cubes, and set them aside
In a large skillet or kadhai heat 2 Tbs of vegetable oil
When the oil is hot toss in:
2 whole cloves and
3 chopped red onions.
Add in the chopped zucchini and saute for another 5 minutes or so
Cover and cook for about 10 minutes or so, until the zucchini is tender. Serve it up.
Coming up next, more veg and more friends go gluten free. Eat Indian say I! Plus a visit to small town America. Follow along on Twitter @kathygori