Cooking With KokHeong: Zucchinis With Green Chile


Every gardener I know who enjoys growing food also enjoys cooking, especially so since they get to use the fresh produce from their gardens. What’s producing right now are zucchinis and green chiles. So, let’s make an easy stir-fried dish with these two ingredients.

Growing up in tropical Malaysia, we enjoyed daily freshly-picked produce from our backyard food forest. We did not have a lot of kitchen gadgets, and we never needed to measure exact amounts of ingredients. We didn’t even have a set of measuring cups and spoons. Everything was done by feel, and perfected through experience. A handful of this, a handful of that. A pinch of this, and a pinch of that. We would always taste the food as we cook, and never left the cooking unattended. It’s said that Chinese cooking is like giving a performance, and the kitchen is our stage. The performer never leaves the stage during a performance.

They say if you leave your car doors unlocked in a parking lot this time of year, you might get vandalized with people leaving zucchinis inside. It has never happened to me though.

I can’t have enough of zucchinis. I grow several varieties: the common dark green zucchinis, the bi-toned zephyr zucchinis, round zucchinis, straight neck yellow zucchinis, and a new variety I’m trying this year called cocozella, with a striped skin. I also grow trombetta squashes which is a winter squash that can be harvested when young and used like a zucchini. Between feeding my extended family, making zucchini relishes, and freezing for the winter use, I don’t get enough of them.

Instructions for making stir-fried zucchinis with green chile:

  1. Pick the zucchinis when they are young and tender, about 6-8″ long. Cut a small section off both ends, and half each one lengthwise. Slice diagonally and thinly into 1/2 moon-shaped pieces, about 1/4” thick.
  2. Heat a tablespoon or two of olive hot in a wok or a large skillet. Add some chopped garlic and salt to taste, Add the zucchini slices, and cook on high, stirring, for a few minutes. Add 1-2 finely chopped, roasted green chile flesh and cook another minute. Cover the wok or skillet and let the zucchinis cook in their own juice. When the juice is almost absorbed, sprinkle with a general dash of soy sauce to glaze. Dish out immediately and serve with rice.
  3. You can mix green and yellow zucchinis for a more appealing look. 
  4. You can also add slivers of carrots for an even more colorful appeal.
  5. Got too much zucchinis? Try the above recipe, or donate to Gaia’s Pantry!