Si Gua, or Loofah gourd, is a fruit with high water content. The fruits are produced in the summer, and great for reducing summer heat because of the cooling property. It is not a fancy restaurant dish, but a rather local home cooking food that is cheap, seasonal and full of nutrition.
In the old times, when a Si Gua is left on the vine until total ripe and dried, it becomes the Loofah sponge we use for body scrubbing in the bath time.
Here is the "Si Gua and Fish Ball Soup" and its variation "Bamboo Shoot and Fish Ball Soup" recipes from Ah Ma's kitchen (grandma's kitchen) in Taiwan.
- 1 fresh Si Gua (Loofah)
- several fish balls. They usually come in one pack (5-10 small ones) in the frozen section of Chinese supermarket.
- optional ginger or garlic, chopped or sliced.
- about 1 teaspoon of salt.
How to Cook
1. Wash and peel the skin.
2. cut into smaller pieces.
3. Cook Si Gua pieces in a pot of water.
Add Fish balls.
Add optional ginger or garlic or spice of your choice.
Cook until Si Gua becomes soft.
Add salt at the end.
You can cook some Tofu or Dried Tofu skin (Dou Pi) together with the soup. See the picture below.
Another similar dish is Bamboo shoot and fish ball soup. Just peel the outer layers of fresh bamboo shoot, chop the rest of the bamboo shoot into smaller pieces, and boil in a pot with fish balls until soft and cooked. Add seasoning as you prefer. The key is finding fresh bamboo shoot so it is not too fibrous and hard to chew.
These are simple, light and healthy dishes. If you can not find fish balls, just omit them and enjoy the vegetarian soup!