I was feeling adventurous at the Asian market and bought this vegetable that I had never seen or heard of before. It looked like a cucumber with ridges and the sign said “terroi”. When I googled that on my phone, I got no hits whatsoever. As I was feeling adventurous, I bought it anyway and asked a salesperson how to prepare it. She told me in soup or stir fried. Then on the receipt it was listed as “Terroi / Sie kwa”, and that second name was the key to finding out that this is called “angled loofah” (or “luffa”) and is indeed eaten stir-fried or in soups in Chinese cuisine. I only knew the word “loofah” as a cleaning sponge, but the unripe version of the fruit is apparently eaten all over Asia. According to Wikipedia, other English names for it are “Chinese okra, dish cloth gourd, ridged gourd, sponge gourd, vegetable gourd, strainer vine, ribbed loofah, silky gourd, ridged gourd, silk gourd”. In Hindi it is called “torai” or “turai”, so that is most likely why it was listed as “terroi” at the Chinese market.
In Thai it is called “buap liyam” or “buap liam”, and I decided to prepare it stir fried as I think a Thai might do it. (Miranti, please feel free to comment.) Loofah is very good at picking up other flavors such as garlic, chili pepper, soy sauce, and fish sauce. It has a slightly sweet flavor and a crunchy texture on the outside while the inner part is more tender. It worked very nicely with the lime leaf chiffonade. I really enjoyed it and will definitely prepare it again. Here’s what I did.
1 angled loofah (about 500 grams/1.1 lbs)
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp minced chili pepper (or to taste)
1 Tbsp lime leaf chiffonade
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp fish sauce
If you can get fresh (or good quality frozen) swordfish, a great way to serve it is as swordfish carpaccio.