Saturday, January 31, 2009

Bitter gourd/ FU Quah

Bitter Guord is a kind of melon and you need an acquired taste to eat it, as the name implies, it is very bitter. It is very good for you, the Chinese believe it is cooling, and probably packed with vitamin C. Dried leaves and vines are boiled to make a therapeutic bath. I can't tell you what treatment it is for, because I forgot.

These days, with the alternative medicine gaining popularity, bitter gourd is believed to cure diabetes. I did buy satchels of bitter gourd tea in Singapore. In a hot humid weather, you don't want to drink sweet drink. A mild bitter tea is actually quite refreshing.

The Chinese cook it sliced diagonally and stir fried by itself or with eggs or pork or the Nyonga in a sambal. My Mum likes to make stuffed bitter gourd of pork mince and using the gourd as a casing. Some people make a soup.

Dad liked the stuffed ones very much. One of the last few dishes I cooked for him during my last visit to him was bitter gourd. He requested for it. I taught Yeti, Henry's Indonesian maid to cook it.

The Indians cook a curry. They usually have a small species which Rose says is better. The texture is harder and the ribs of the outer gourd much mucher.

The ones shown in the pix are medium size. The ones the Chinese like a much bigger. Mum and Dad used to grow them, They are very susceptible to insect stings and laying eggs so their caterpillars will ruin the gourd. We used to make paper bags out of newspaper and attache it with toothpicks  to the vine where the little gourd grows. These bags protect the gourd from insects laying eggs in the gourd.

At this festive season, people avoid eating the bitter gourd. They don't want the rest of the year to be bitter. 

In New Zealand, I have not bought any because it costs a lot of money. One of my daughters likes them, but I have forgotten which.

***The vine grows in my neighbour's garden. I have a feeling that it wasn't grown intentionally, because everything is like a bush. The leaves are very pretty and can be used as green in flower decoration.***

My mother in law learned from her friends to feed the juice of the leaves to a jaundiced baby. Jaundice to the chinese means heaty. I assumed that the bath cools the internal heat of the sick person.  
A warning to others, you should never give the juice to the baby because it is too cooling and the baby will develop weak lungs.  Grace

If the baby very hot (heaty) use boiled Fu kuah leaves.

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