Cucuzza squash, known for its extreme length, can grow anywhere from fifteen inches to three feet in length and can be upwards of three inches in diameter. Its shape can be long and straight or can have a slight curvature. Its pale green skin is thin yet inedible and encases a creamy white flesh. The Cucuzza squash contains seeds that are edible when the squash is young but when mature become hard and should be discarded before eating. When young the Cucuzza squash offers a slightly nutty, rich squash flavor with a relatively firm texture like that of cucumber and zucchini. Look for Cucuzza squash with smooth, bruise-free skin and with the stem still attached as it will continue nourishing the squash up to one month after picking.
Cucuzza squash is used predominately in dishes that require cooking and they should be peeled prior to use. When cooked, it retains its firm texture. Its culinary uses are seemingly limitless and depending upon the maturity level of the squash it can be used in recipes that call for summer squash or winter squash. When young Cucuzza squash can be prepared in a fashion like that of other summer-type squashes. It can be sliced and sauteed, grilled, fried, and pickled.
To store, keep whole Cucuzza squash wrapped in plastic and refrigerate.
Bottle Gourd Curry
1 onion finely chopped
1 tomato finely chopped
3 garlic cloves peeled
2 green chili
1 medium-sized bottle gourd
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp red chili powder
salt to taste
2 tbsp coconut paste
2 tbsp tamarind paste
3 tbsp coriander leaver/cilantro finely chopped
3 tbsp oil
- In a pan, add oil and fry the onion till translucent.
- Now add the green chili, garlic, tomato, salt, turmeric and cook till the tomato pieces are tender.
- Throw in the diced bottle gourd, red chili powder, and water, and cook till it is cooked. (You can alternatively cook it in a pressure cooker to save time. Just 1 or 2 whistles of the pressure cooker will be sufficient to cook the bottle gourd thoroughly).
- Add a cup of water, coconut paste, tamarind paste, and coriander leave to cook on low flame till oil begins to float on top.
- Serve hot with steamed plain rice.