You are probably familiar with the dish 胜瓜豆腐 (luffa with tofu), which can be found in most Chinese restaurants. A dish that involves deep fried tofu with angled luffa drenched in thick starchy sauce. Really tasty with rice. Anyway, that's not the dish of the day. Angled luffa or loofah are also known as Chinese okra. It has this spongey texture that just absorbs all the tasty gravy that it's cooked in. They are best eaten when they are still green as the mature ones are made into shower sponges (yeah, you heard me, vegetable sponges used for cleaning!).
This is how it looks like - a cucumber with ridges!
Simply peel the luffa skin especially the hard ridges using a fruit peeler, it is okay to leave a bit of the inner pale green skin on. It is like a sponge and will become quite soft after cooking, so if you prefer it to have a more crunchy texture, just remove the hard ridges and scrape the rest of the skin with a knife, leaving some skin on.
Prep time: 15 mins
Marinade time: 30 mins (preferably overnight)
Cook time: 1 hr
Yield: serves 3-4
- 1/2 (about 750 g) chicken - chopped into pieces
- 2 tbs preserved black beans - rinsed a few times and minced
- 3 cloves garlic
- 30 g dried Cordyceps militaris - rinsed
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 635 g angled luffa gourds 胜瓜 - peeled and cut into pieces
- Cornstarch slurry (cornstarch+water)
- 1 tbs Shaoxing wine
- 1 tbs oyster sauce
- 1 tsp light soy sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
- A dash white pepper powder
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- Combine chicken and all ingredients for marinade in a bowl, mix well, cover with clingfilm and leave to marinate for at least 30 mins at room temperature (preferably overnight in the fridge).
- Heat up a bit of oil in a wok, add black beans and garlic, stir-fry until fragrant.
- Add marinated chicken, stir-fry for a few minutes or until the chicken is lightly browned.
- Mix in cordyceps and water. Bring to boil then lower heat and simmer for about 30 mins or until chicken is tender. Add more water if neccesary.
- Add in luffa, continue simmering for about 5-10 mins or until luffa is softened.
- Season to taste. Thicken with cornstarch slurry.