Stir-Fried Angled Loofah (清炒勝瓜)

I apologize for the lack of updates for the past month. There were just too many other things going on that I had to keep on pushing back my next post. But here it comes!

I have mentioned that I am not vegetarian and I will unlikely to become one unless some unforeseeable extraordinary events happen. However, I was very thrilled when I was asked to post some easy and delicious vegan dishes on Yi Reservation.

The Chinese vegan dishes tend to be very simply and rely heavily on fresh ingredients that are not so common to Western cooking. One of these vegetables is called loofah.

In the States, Loofah (aka Luffa, Lofah or Lufa) is well known in its dried form – the natural bath sponge that is perfect for a body scrub. But when loofah is harvest immaturely, its soft, silky texture, and somewhat sweet taste make loofah a perfect vegetable fruit or squash if you would.

Similar to tofu, loofah can absorb a lot of flavors from other ingredients/ condiments. However in Chinese cuisine it is normally made into a stir-fry or a soup dish.

The particular loofah featured in this recipe is called  angled loofah (aka Chinese okra), which is variation of loofah family. It’s shaped like a baseball bat with angled ridges. When you are at your local Asian store, pick out the loofah fruits that are small, thin, soft and light green in color. These loofah fruits have better taste than the older fruits.

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Stir-Fried Angled Loofah – Ingredient

  • 1 lb Angled Loofah
  • 2 slice Ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1 Shallot, sliced
  • ½ White pepper powder
  • ½ tbsp Cooking wine
  • 2 tbsp Water
  • Salt

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Stir-Fried Angled Loofah – Step By Step

1.Peel the loofah skin especially the hard ridges using a fruit peeler

2. Cut the loofah into 2 x 2 chucks. I like to cut it diagonally to give more open surface area (so more flavor will be absorbed)

3.Over high heat, quickly brown the sliced ginger and shallot in 2 tbsp of oil.

4.Add loofah and turn it quickly to incorporate. Add cooking wine and water. Cook with a lid on for about 4 minutes. Turn periodically.The loofah is done when it turns soft.  Add salt and sesame oil to finish.

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If you are not a vegan or vegetarian, you can also add stir-fry the loofah with some protein

11 comments

  1. 5

    Awesome step-by-step recipes with pics 🙂

  2. 4

    Very resourceful blog! Just bookmarked it and will be frequenting the recipe repertoire. Question: I’m actually growing loofah in my garden for the first time and wondering when is the best time to pick them. You said to pick the small green ones. How small? Also what texture should I expect when they are cooked through? Thanks!!

    • 4.1

      Hey Jin, thanks for stopping by my blog. Are you growing the angled loofah (used in this recipe) or a regular loofah (smoother skin)? The loofah fruits are ready to eat before they are fully grown. The angled loofah fruits can grow into the size of your whole arm. However harvest them while they are still soft and dense. The regular loofah fruits can grow into the size of the forearm. Also harvest them when they are relatively soft and before they dry up. Hope this helps:)

  3. 3

    I’m intrigued by this. I had no idea that loofah comes from a vegetable, but I guess it makes sense! I’ll check if our small Asian market here in Reno has them, but is there something I can substitute if not?

    • 3.1

      Hi Anna, unfortunately loofah is hard to be substituted since it’s the main ingredient of this dish. If you can’t find it you can try out some other vegetable dishes on this site.

      • I never found any loofah so I used your seasonings with zucchini, and it was good, but of course I’m not sure how the flavor and texture of zucchini compares to loofah.

        • Hello Anna, I actually stir fry zucchini the same way and I like it a lot. I’d say loofah is a little bit sweeter than zucchini. Texture wise, loofah’s skin is a little bit crunchier. Hope you’ll eventually get to try the loofah though!

  4. 2

    I just made soup with loofah! Stir-fry, steamed….they are all good! But need to be able to buy “young” and tender versions – those “older” fibrous loofah do not have a pleasing texture when cooked.

  5. 1

    this is one chinese vege i just cannot get enough of! we have really thin loofah here which you cant seem get much out of to make a dish!

    hope u guys are okay in NY…seems like a lot going on there from the news with all the strange weather and the 9/11 anniversary, and scary bomb threats ><

    • 1.1

      Hi Viv, thanks for asking, we were fine in NY during the 9/11 10th anniversary. We are fortunate to have regular sized loofah here so we get enough loofah flesh to make at least one dish:)

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