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Chinese Ingredients - Just Like Blighty
Courgette's [Zucchini] or Sai Gwa
Courgette's come in two types in Canton, where it is classified and used as a gourd. The word 'gwa' refers to anything like a melon, or bulbous fruit.

The courgette's we are used to in the west are generally smaller than their UK counterparts when sold in China, but treated in exactly the same way. The other type, which looks to me exactly like a bigger version, is more bulbous perhaps, but is cooked in similar ways.
When buying from a wet market or supermarket, look for firm fruit that has a healthy green colour. Reject any soft ones, as these have been picked a few days and are not as nice to eat.

In Uk we always prepare by washing the skin, dicing into long strips, and then leaving to rest with a sprinkling of salt to remove any bitterness.

Chinese chef's simply wash, dice to required shape and size, and set aside to rest without using salt. Pictured left are the large version.
Image: Chinese Courgettes prepared for cooking - Click to Enlarge
Recipe 1 - Prawn and Courgette Curry

I have used small Chinese courgette's in my personal version of Madhur Jaffrey's excellent Prawn and Courgette Curry, which is unusually light and very tasty. You can find the recipe here

Recipe 2 - Courgette's as a vegetable

This is something western chef's tend not to make, perhaps because it is too simple? Having prepared the courgette's as above, but perhaps cut into mouth sized chunks, simply at to a hot wok that has a little oil in the bottom and flash-fry for about 1 minute. Add a rice bowl of water, salt and pepper to taste, and simmer for between 5 and 10 minutes. By this I mean they are cooked in 5 minutes, but you can delay serving so as to finish other dishes at the same time. Do not leave on the heat for more than 10 minutes or they will overcook.

Standard variations include adding a little diced garlic, fresh ginger and/or chilli at the beginning of cooking.
To serve with a sauce simply add a teaspoonful or two of chicken bouillon granules or vegetable stock, stir well in, and leave to simmer for at least 5 minutes. Using this method you may need to add more water to the wok, and pay attention to getting the thickness of the gravy right. This is pretty easy once you have used this technique a few times, and it becomes second nature to experienced Cantonese chef's.

For vegetarians I would use a proprietary brand vegetable stock, and thicken right at the end with a little corn flour. This produces a nice glaze which looks great when served to table.

Other Recipes

There are numerous other recipes that can include courgette's - too many of little note to list separately. One such is cockles and courgette's, often made as a soup. This is basically the same as other recipes given, as all we do is substitute the courgette's for the other main vegetable used. For an example please see our page Mango and substitute or add courgette's as you please - it really is that simple.
This information is as supplied by ourselves, and ably supported by our friends and various internet portals.
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