Sustainable Organic Gardening

Luffas – a whole new angle

Angled luffa vine growing down a wall

Angled luffa vine growing down a wall

Angled luffa is a very popular ingredient in Asian cooking, especially in Thai or Chinese dishes. There are lots of yummy-sounding stir-fries, soups and noodle dishes featuring this versatile vegetable, but it is its suitability as a warm-climate stand-in for zucchini that’s the subject of this blog.

Small angled luffas topped and tailed

Small angled luffas topped and tailed

Whereas squash and zucchini plants tend to suffer from mildew, angled luffa thrives in a warm humid climate. The flavour is quite similar to zucchini but it has a slightly tougher, ridged skin. The vine-borne fruit can be picked as a slender, green bean-like vege around 20 cm long or left to mature to 30 – 40 cm long. A crisp snap when you bend the fruit means it’s fresh.
As a ‘baby’ vege, only a light steaming or sauté is needed; top and tail them and add to a stir-fry. Slightly bigger luffas (up to 2 cm diameter) are ideal in a casserole or ratatouille. More mature fruit (and they can get really big!) should have their angled skin peeled before cooking – it gets a bit tough.

I’ve just made a ratatouille and chucked in a handful of little luffas right at the end, with some basil. Delicious!

Ratatouille with the angled luffa just added

Ratatouille with the angled luffa just added

Ratatouille with angled luffa ready to serve

Ratatouille with angled luffa ready to serve

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7 Responses to “Luffas – a whole new angle”

  • Aussiejohn says:

    Great vegetable. inundated with fruit from angled luffa as well as New Guinea bean. Both good in stirfry. Luffa very nice crumbed and lightly fried in a touch of olive oil.

    Neighbours fell in love with both.

  • I never seem to catch them when they are small enough to eat. I really must do a better job of that – yours look delicious.

  • katie says:

    Will this angle luffa grow in Melbourne? Where can I get a reciepe of that dish ratatouille? It looks very delicious

    • Chook Whisperer says:

      Angled luffa can grow in temperate climates but as it needs a long growing season it should be started indoors. The ratatouille is not a very precise recipe, but here’s a rough guide:
      1 red onion, thinly sliced
      3 cloves garlic, chopped or crushed
      4 or 5 finger eggplants (or 1 large), cut into 3cm chunks
      1 capsicum, cut into in thick strips
      1 tin of tomatoes or 3 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
      A few leaves of basil, shredded
      A few leaves of silverbeet, roughly chopped
      A handful of small angled luffa, topped and tailed (or zucchini)
      Olive oil
      Method: Over low to medium heat, fry onion in olive oil. Once it’s translucent, add garlic and cook for a minute or two more, stirring. Then add the eggplant and cook for 4 or 5 minutes, stirring, Add capsicum, silverbeet, zucchini if using and tomatoes, a little water if it looks like it’s needed then cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Five minutes before serving, throw in the angled luffa and basil.

  • Gay McCoskrr says:

    I have a couple of angled luffa vines, the leaves are lush and it flowers prolifically (females I believe) and the vine produces fruit fairly regularly, my problem is that the fruit go brown and wither when only about 10cm long, those I pick and cook are sometimes quite bitter. I live on Magnetic island and the soil is sandy. I have enriched by digging in vegetable scraps and applying seaweed emulsion and some commercial composted manure. Rainfall is terribly low but I water every 2 days at least. Any ideas why I am having these problems?

  • Matt says:

    Chooks love them! Large fruit cut down the middle and laid out for the girls go down a treat.

  • Gary says:

    That sounds like a great recepe, I will give that a shot tonight

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