Mo gua, otherwise, known as the hairy gourd in English, is a Chinese vegetable that I have never encountered before. I’ve never consumed it, never purchased it, and have never attempted to cook it. Until now.
My boyfriend’s aunt gifted him with 3/4 of this huge melon which was then gifted to me (thanks babe). Upon receiving it, I had no idea what the hell it was. Luckily, he still remembered what it was called in Cantonese. Still, I was SOL. Because I have had no experience in cooking it whatsoever and Google wasn’t exactly helping me too much, I turned to Twitter for help. Mijune from Follow Me Foodie suggested that I cook it with mung bean noodles, shiitake mushrooms, and ground pork. But of course, I had to have it my way. I present you with stir fried glass noodles with mo gua, shiitake mushrooms, and dried shrimp.
I don’t think there is a literal translation of what this dish is called in Cantonese/Mandarin (I asked) but let me just say it smells and tastes very…Chinese. Needless to say, it was still a good dish, if you like intense flavours.
But one thing’s for sure: listen to the internet and not your boyfriend. I was instructed to shave off the hair (sounds gross, I know) and then peel the skin off. My boyfriend suggested that I just keep the skin on for added nutrients and I thought, hey, why not? I thought it’d just be like kabocha squash and the skin would soften and be delicious as-is. WRONG. Hm… It was comparable to eating watermelon skin but thinner. Gross. Never listening to the boyfriend again when it comes to cooking…
minor major mix up, the actual texture was very soft and delicate, somewhere between a cooked daikon, zucchini, and cucumber altogether.
Although this dish wasn’t exactly a huge winner at my house, I still have a large chunk of mo gua at home sitting in my fridge waiting to be cooked… Great. Is this going to be just like bok choy week but replaced with a more annoying vegetable? Hm…
Stir-fried glass noodles with mo gua, shiitake mushrooms, and dried shrimp
What you’ll need:
– 2 tsps vegetable oil
– 6 cloves garlic, sliced
– 2 bundles of green bean/mung bean noodles, soaked in hot water, drained
– 20 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in hot water, sliced, liquid reserved
– 1/3 cup dried shrimp, soaked in hot water, drained, roughly chopped
– 3 cups mo gua, diced, skin off, seeds removed
– 3 tsps hoisin sauce
– 1 tsps soy sauce
What you’ll need to do:
1. In a large wok, heat vegetable oil until hot over high heat and add the garlic. Saute for 1 minute until colour begins to appear.
2. Add the noodles, shrimp and mushrooms to the wok. Saute.
3. Add the mo gua to the wok and add the reserved liquid that the mushrooms were soaking in. Cook for 5 minutes or until cooked.
4. Add the soy sauce and stir fry. Makes 6-8 servings.