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Summer recipe: ridge gourd with shrimp

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We are in the middle of the summer in Phoenix and it is extremely hot. Summer calls for light recipes with lots of vegetables. One of the characteristics of summer vegetables is that they contain a lot of water. Fruits like watermelon, strawberries, cucumbers and vegetables like squash and ridge gourd are full of water. Ridge gourd is a summer vegetable available in Asian groceries. It is also called jhinge, toorai or luffa It is usually cooked with potatoes and poppy seed paste (jhinge posto in Bengal). Here is another recipe for cooking ridge gourd with shrimp. In the Phoenix area, you can buy ridge gourd at Lee Lee Oriental Supermarket and Ashoka in Chandler, Mekong Market and Lotus in Mesa or Asiana in Glendale.

Spicy ridge gourd with shrimp (Jhinge chingri)

  • 1 medium ridge gourd (peel removed and chopped into 2” cubes)
  • 2 big potatoes
  • 1 lb shrimp (shelled, deveined and cleaned)
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs (seasoned)
  • 2 tsp salt,
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 jalapeño peppers
  • 2 red chilies
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp canola oil

Mix the shrimp with ½ tsp salt, a pinch of turmeric and the panko bread crumbs. Add a little water to make a batter. Heat oil in a wok or frying pan. Fry the batter dipped shrimp in the oil, drain on a paper towel and keep aside. In the remaining oil add the cumin seeds and red chilies. Add the potatoes and sauté till a little brown on the sides. Add the chopped ridge gourd and continue cooking till the gourd is tender and releases water. Add salt, turmeric and chopped jalapeño peppers. Add the fried shrimp. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot with rice.