Opo Squash

Also Known As:

Bi Bau, Trai Bau, Nam tao, bottle gourd, cucuzza squash, calabash, yugao, long squash, bau, Italian edible gourd, New Guinea bean, Tasmania bean, sorakaya, laukis, snake gourd, po gua, kwa kwa, upo, dudi…
Read More Here: http://recipes.wikia.com/wiki/Opo_squash

Where did I get this?

From my neighbors. They grow lots of neat stuff in their yard and on their fence every year.  When my husband (the gardener at my house) expressed interest in these crazy long things – they promptly picked one for him. He brought it home to me like a proud schoolboy “Here – she says to cook this in soup!” My response was..”What is it and can we eat the skin and the seeds, if it even has any?” I sent him back down to ask our friendly Vietnamese neighbors since he has a flare for languages and is probably fluent by now. Me – I can’t even understand his Massachusetts accent most of the time.

How did I cook it?

It is a cliché but if in doubt add pork fat! I found out from the neighbors that the seeds are okay to eat but they suggest skipping the skin. I did a little research on my own and read that it is similar to a zucchini and a cucumber. Soup seemed to be the most popular use of it. There is a terrific recipe here. Stir-fry also seems popular. Here is a link to a beautiful one.  But I am not much of a soup-maker and … I decided to split, stuff and roast it. My favorite way to have zucchini. After washing, splitting and coating it with olive oil; I stuffed it with sautéed onion, sweet red pepper, mushrooms, garlic, ground pork and chopped fresh oregano, basil and parsley from the garden. Leave out the meat and add beans, rice  or more chopped veggies for a vegetarian option. I roasted it at 400 degrees for 30 mins. (45 would have been better) I topped it in the last 10 mins with toasted breadcrumbs, grated Romano cheese and another drizzle of olive oil.

How did it taste?

Pretty good – mild like a zucchini but a bit juicier. Strangely “refreshing” like a cucumber.

Take a look at the process…


10 comments on “Opo Squash

  1. michael says:

    A most excellent meal.
    Cảm ơn rất nhiều

  2. Karen says:

    What the adventurer you are. If I ever come across ome, I will now know how to prepare it.

  3. Now that looks like fun! The community garden next to my house has lots of these hanging off fences and trellised gardens.

  4. Jessica says:

    Just picked one of these up from our local farmer’s market 🙂 Love the stuffed idea!! Your neighbors suggested skipping the skin, though. Did you eat the skin with the above recipe? Was it bitter? Still deciding what to do with mine. It’s huge! And it was only 2 bucks 😉

    • cabinet stew says:

      No we didn’t eat the skin – just “scooped the flesh.” Definitely roast for a while longer than I did. Cover the stuffed part with foil to keep it from over-browning. The center is not very seed-y and the seeds are edible so I only scooped a minimal channel to hold some stuffing. If you leave out the meat and beans or rice – they should be cooked first.
      Let me know how it was!

      • Jessica says:

        Okay, so I ended up cooking up some ground chicken with a little olive oil, petite diced tomatoes, yellow bell pepper, celery, and onion, seasoned with salt, oregano, basil, and some tomato, basil, and garlic seasoning. Cut out a small trough in the opo and baked it all at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. It still didn’t seem like enough time! We also topped it with breadcrumbs and cheese about 5 minutes before it finished. The skin was very tough (didn’t read about scooping it until we were finished!) and the meat of the veggie was REALLY watery – more like a cucumber. Not exactly my favorite. But it was fun to try something new! I think next time, I will boil it, puree it, season it and make it into a cold soup with sour cream on top – like gazpacho 🙂

      • cabinet stew says:

        Hello again! Too bad about the skin! Yes the flesh is very watery and mild. I am going to peel and stir-fry mine next time like the link. Probably better to treat it with Asian cooking preparation than Italian! The soup idea sounds good.

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