Mystery House



Experimental Malaysian Vegetables


The recipe that Amy posted last Friday looked so good that I had to try it right away.  Malaysian Roast Chicken!  Why not try a Malaysian recipe for a side dish to go with it?  I don’t have a Malaysian cookbook, but I do have this, which has a chapter dedicated to the food of Malaysia.  Smartypants me, I was certain I could find something suitable without any trouble.

It’s way on the other side of the world from me, this Malaysia.  And on the other side of the world, they grow some things that aren’t grown here.  Water spinach, candlenuts, pandan leaves…I must confess ignorance.  I have no idea what that stuff is.  The glossary in the book wasn’t much help, either, because either there was no substitute for a particular ingredient, or the substitute was just as mysterious as the original.  There are several great, well-stocked Asian supermarkets in my city and normally I’d run out and see what I could find or ask for advice, but we were in the middle of a snowstorm.  No way was I slipping and sliding all over town in search of pandan leaves.  This experiment would have to be conducted with plain old American vegetables from my suburban grocery.  Finally, I came to a recipe for snake gourd.

Being fresh out of snake gourds, I almost passed it by.  But wait!  There was a “Helpful Hint” at the end of the recipe.  Long beans, it said, zucchini or summer squash can be substituted for snake gourd.  My grocery store has long beans occasionally (usually in the summer), but they always have zucchini.  I could get every ingredient except fresh curry leaves, which were really a garnish–I could throw in a little curry powder, which I’m sure is not the same, but whatever.  It’s my experiment.  I tried it, fiddling with the recipe as I went along, of course.  Here’s my version:

Faux Snake Gourd

1/2 c. red lentils (couldn’t find yellow ones, as called for)
1/4 tsp. turmeric
1 c. water
1 med. zucchini
1 med. yellow squash
2 shallots, sliced
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp. brown mustard seeds
3 red chiles, chopped
1 tsp. curry powder

Rinse lentils, combine with water and turmeric, bring to a boil and simmer until done.  The turmeric turns the red lentils yellow, and then they look like what the recipe called for in the first place.

Cut squash into pieces about 1/2 inch thick.

Saute shallots and garlic in oil until soft and starting to brown.  Add mustard seeds and cook until they start to pop.  Add squash, lentils, curry powder, salt to taste and cook until tender.  (I covered the pan and at one point added a little water since it was drying out.)  When just a few minutes away from being done, add the chiles and correct seasonings.

The verdict?  Well, maybe snake gourd has more flavor.  Zucchini just wasn’t sufficiently exciting in this preparation.  The lentils form a sort of mush which had lots of flavor on its own, but the rather bland chunks of squash really didn’t contribute much.  We liked the lentils, however, and I think next time I’ll just make curried lentils and leave out the squash.

But that chicken.  Oh, Lordy.  That is some serious, serious chicken.  I marinated it for a day and a half and it was To. Die. For.  No joke.  If you know what’s good for you, run on over to KnitThink and get the recipe!

Advertisements

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

Comments

  1. * cursingmama says:

    Snake gourd – the name alone gives me pause…. I do think the chicken holds great promise as a family acceptable item; I’ll probably have to serve corn with it though 😉

    Posted 9 years, 4 months ago
  2. * cursingmama says:

    Snake gourd – the name alone gives me pause…. I do think the chicken holds great promise as a family acceptable item; I’ll probably have to serve corn with it though 😉

    Posted 9 years, 4 months ago
  3. * Chris says:

    Snake gourd. What a weird name!

    Posted 9 years, 4 months ago
  4. * Connie says:

    Looks interesting. I am definitely trying the chicken…not so much your veggies…we like zucchini sauted – much plainer. I tried roasted parsnips last night. I overcooked them, made the kids try at least one, they said they weren’t awful but I think I am going to stick with parsnips in stew and roasted carrots.

    Posted 9 years, 4 months ago
  5. * leosatter says:

    Maybe you can help me out with something…? I want to order all of my food online from now on because of various reasons, but I don’t know where to go for quality food. I have tried 2 companies so far, Fresh Dining, and and Celebrity Foods, but I wanna get others I can try out. Do you know of any? The main thing I’ve ordered so far is steak. I guess you can say, I’m a steak junkie. LOL!!! From what I have found out (from what I have ordered so far) I think I am able to regulate the quality of beef I buy. I hate going to a store and getting that crappy slab of beef that I have to cut down until there is like nothing left. Hahaha!!!! (its so true though) Anyhow, sorry that I made this comment so long. If you can help me out or point me in a direction where I might find more quality foods online, I would greatly appreciate it. Have a good day or night! (depending on when you read this) LOL!!!!

    Posted 9 years, 4 months ago
  6. * Amy says:

    Yes, the marinating is key, but did you spear the chicken with lots of forks???

    Posted 9 years, 4 months ago
  7. * Amy says:

    Yes, the marinating is key, but did you spear the chicken with lots of forks???

    Posted 9 years, 4 months ago
  8. * Jeanne says:

    I don’t think I could eat anything that calls for snake gourd. Too many negative connotations.

    Posted 9 years, 4 months ago
  9. * olga says:

    Yeah, something named ‘snake gourd’ doesn’t exactly make my mouth water….but I went and got the chicken recipe, got my forks all ready…if you know what I mean…

    Posted 9 years, 4 months ago
  10. * olga says:

    Yeah, something named ‘snake gourd’ doesn’t exactly make my mouth water….but I went and got the chicken recipe, got my forks all ready…if you know what I mean…

    Posted 9 years, 4 months ago
  11. * olga says:

    Yeah, something named ‘snake gourd’ doesn’t exactly make my mouth water….but I went and got the chicken recipe, got my forks all ready…if you know what I mean…

    Posted 9 years, 4 months ago
  12. * bezzie says:

    Faux Snake Gourd…I think I saw them play live in a bar once…
    Ha ha, I kid, it looks delish!

    Posted 9 years, 4 months ago
  13. * del says:

    Sometimes I have problems accessing your blog (no idea why), so now I can finally comment!
    Yeah, when recipes list ingredients I’ve never heard of, I can only substitute if I have a vague idea of what the original item is! Otherwise, I’m like, huh??
    Snake gourds–I might have had to give up.

    Posted 9 years, 4 months ago
  14. * del says:

    Sometimes I have problems accessing your blog (no idea why), so now I can finally comment!
    Yeah, when recipes list ingredients I’ve never heard of, I can only substitute if I have a vague idea of what the original item is! Otherwise, I’m like, huh??
    Snake gourds–I might have had to give up.

    Posted 9 years, 4 months ago


Comments are not allowed at this time.

%d bloggers like this: