Luffa (丝瓜) aka Loofah, Chinese Okra, Angled Gourd, Ridge Gourd, Sponge Gourd, Gamba, Singua. It is a longish gourd with a soft, spongy flesh.
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In its dried and matured form, it is used as a natural bath sponge, or “loofah sponge” as it is popularly known. The young luffa is used in cooking. It is touted to have many health and beautifying benefits.
Every gourd has 10 ridges on them. Count them next time you are at the market.
How to prep it before cooking. Peel and discard the dark green skin with a vegetable peeler.
Scoop out and discard the seeds. I read some recipes which say it is ok to cook with the seeds, but did not work out for me – I hated the taste of the seeds, and they take forever to soften (compared to the quick cooking flesh). So personally I always remove them.
Cut the luffa flesh to bite-sized chunks (you can also cut them diagonally) or as required in recipe.
Where to buy this in Singapore
It is inexpensive (you can get it for about a dollar for a mid sized gourd) and readily available at local supermarkets and wet markets.