Cooking Local: Yuugao – Okinawan Bottle Gourd Curry

CONTRIBUTED BY KELLY GILLOTTI

Yuugao - Okinawan Bottle Gourd Curry l Okinawa Hai!

I saw this huge green vegetable, with a sticker price of around $1.75, and decided that I must learn to like this, based on the price alone.

Yuugao - Okinawan Bottle Gourd Curry l Okinawa Hai!

I stood there in the middle of the market, entering kana into my Japanese translation app to discover that yuugao (ゆうがお) is bottle gourd. Apparently, they make delightful liquid vessels once they’re dried. Since the yuugao is watery and mild, it’s perfect for summer. The bottle gourd was like a giant cucumber after peeling and deseeding.

Yuugao - Okinawan Bottle Gourd Curry l Okinawa Hai!

Yuugao - Okinawan Bottle Gourd Curry l Okinawa Hai!

The flavor is very mild and pleasing. Since I had just returned from six weeks in India, I was inspired to make an Indian curry to heat things up.

The recipe:

  • 1 yuugao
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1/3 onion- chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp black mustard seed
  • 5 curry leaves (if you don’t have these, just add cilantro as a garnish instead)
  • ½ tsp coriander
  • ½ tsp fenugreek
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper (or more!)
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ cup flaked coconut
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • ½ cup water

Peel, deseed, and dice the whole bottle gourd. Heat the ghee in pan, and add onions once it’s hot. Cook for 3 minutes then add the cumin and black mustard seed. Let this cook until the mustard seeds start popping. Then add the flaked coconut and curry leaves. Keep stirring over medium heat until the coconut starts to brown. Be careful not to let the spices burn. Stir, stir, stir!

Yuugao - Okinawan Bottle Gourd Curry l Okinawa Hai!

Add the diced bottle gourd, turmeric, coriander, fenugreek, and cayenne. Stir around for a few minutes, letting the spices mingle. Add water and cover pan. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove lid, add coconut milk, bring to a boil then reduce heat and cook for 10 more minutes until the gourd is translucent.

Yuugao - Okinawan Bottle Gourd Curry l Okinawa Hai!

Add salt to taste. Serve over rice or barley with a side of sautéed greens.

Yuugao - Okinawan Bottle Gourd Curry l Okinawa Hai!


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1 Comments
  • August 14, 2014

    Hello, where did u find the fenugreek?

    Dasha
    Reply