西葫蘆 or Zucchini or courgette is something I've never eaten or seldom cook though it is readily available here in Sweden. It looks like a cucumber but it does not have as much water content and the flesh is kinda...like that of an aubergine when you cut it. The real surprise is that when you Wikipedia it, botanically it's an immature fruit and the ovary of the female flower.(Bet you didn't know that!)
I only knew how to use it in the Korean Dough Noodles, I've made Zucchini Muffins (will post it soon), and I've seen my mother-in-law use it in her Ljungströms grönsaker mix (green things mix, basically a mix of root vegetables that goes very well with slabs of meat). My current favourite, however, is this dish which I tasted when a fellow PHD colleague, Yaqian cooked it for her birthday meal which I was honored to be invited to. The meal was delicious but this was a dish that made me went back for seconds. She learnt it from her mom who is a great cook (auntie I was to try your cooking one day!) and who produced a good disciple :) Yaqian is also one of my faithful fans at this blog and Singlish Swenglish Facebook page. I've made a slight addition of crispy fried shrimps and it just seals the deal for me, but it is good without it as well.
The beauty about mandarin is that is only takes a few lines to describe how to make this dish but much longer in English:
先热油 然后放花椒 等有香味后 把花椒捞出来扔掉
有香味后 放zucchini 炒一炒
然后加生抽 和糖 再放醋和蒜末 最后放点盐和味精 就好了(Direct quote from Chef Yaqian)
1 zucchini/courgette, washed, cut lengthwise into half, then sliced it thickly into semi-circle pieces
1-2 spring onions, white-green parts only sliced into 3cm sections
1 clove of garlic, minced
Small handful of dried shrimps, washed and dried
4-5 small dried chili, cut into halves and remove the seeds2 teaspoons of Szechuan peppercorns, whole
Soy sauce, sugar, chinese vinegar and some chick stock granules for seasoning
Oil for cooking
Oil for cooking
- Heat a pan and without adding any oil, stir fry the dried shrimps first to remove any moisture. Add about 1 tablespoon of oil subsequently to fry over low heat until it is crispy. Remove and set aside for use later.
- Add in about 2-3 tablespoon of oil to the pan over medium heat and add the Szechuan peppercorns until you smell the fragrance and the peppercorns turns slightly brown and remove it from the oil. Be careful not to burn it! The pan should not be smoking.
- Next, add the dried chili and spring onions, stir fry until the spring onions are slightly wilted before adding the minced garlic.
- Fry for another 5 seconds and add the zucchini to stir fry until they just turn soft. If the flesh are translucent, they are already cooked all the way, so this part depends a bit on your own preferences if you like it slightly crunchier or with a slight bite.
- Just before they are done, add in about 2 tablespoons light soy sauce, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon vinegar, a sprinkle of chicken stock granules, the dried shrimps and mix it up well, taste and adjust accordingly. There's no need to add water at any stage because the zucchini should produce just enough to coat all the ingredients. Serve hot, goes very well with rice!