Luffa Gourd/Patola


Patola is what we call the luffa gourd. There are two types of this gourd but I am only familiar with the one that has angles or ridges on the skin. This is the specie called Luffa Acutangula. The other specie must have been introduced in the Philippines at a later date. We call it Chinese okra.

I like patola in several dishes like stir-fry or dinengdeng, a recipe that is almost Japanese where they boil water flavored with fish stock like dashi, and then just drop the vegetables like the cut-up patola, kalabasa or pumpkin and eggplant and long beans, whatever vegetables you have in hand. I specially like patola with misua. It is made by sauteeing garlic and onions, diced pork and shelled shrimp. Add water or chicken stock and as it starts to boil, you may drop the misua, a type of noodles I can compare to somen noodles, actually I use somen noodles as substitue, and the last one is the sliced patola. You may garnish it with green onions. You have to use a young patola for all your recipes otherwise it will be fibrous.

Incidentally, the mature patola or luffa is turned into a sponge and used in dishwashing or even in baths to exfoliate skin. I was not aware we’ve been living green since I was a child. And since it is biodegradable, you can always toss it in the compost pile when it is frayed. How fun to know that now.

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