Luffas – a whole new angle
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.
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!
Posted in Kitchen