This is the result of stressing out in a heavily congested Vietnamese supermarket…never again. My grandma used to cook me lots of soups with opo and dried baby shrimp and it was absolute comfort food. I of course added my own little spin and its less of a soup than an actual dish now. These are ingredients that i haven’t cooked with before so it was nice to play around with them a little.
I would very much like to point out that going to a crowded asian grocer is like rush hour on the free way. Its very SLOW! the noise was absolutely horrifying. So many different Asian ethnicities yelling at one another and pushing and shoving and doing all sorts of weird and rude things. I felt my anxiety levels elevate by simply being inside. If you can:
avoid the Asian grocery store rush hour!
Ever experience this? then you know clearly what I’m talking about. It’s like a war zone. But I mean the vegetables and fish were cheap so I guess that’s the plus, that is if you don’t mind waiting about 20 minutes to get from the back of the store to the front…the things I do for my love of food.
If you have never had opo squash before or don’t know what it looks like, its a type of gourd really and looks just like it. Imagine a light but bright green gourd like squash with very smooth and somewhat shiny skin. It’s a little bit like a bitter zucchini, but its really not that bitter.
The baby dried shrimp looks a lot like little krill, but it adds a nice meaty flavor that really gives a nice taste to the dish. The pea sprouts add a nice texture and they happened to be on sale and you’re supposed to use the the very first day you get them so that explains that. Also, the pea sprouts-let me just tell you- were in a BAG! if you have never eaten or bought pea sprouts (aka alfalfa sprouts) they are FULL of BUGS! But the bags were absolutely bug free. This greatly relieved my nerves as trying to pick caterpillars from my chard is a task that often sends me screaming out of my kitchen.
Opo Squash stewed with baby shrimp and pea sprouts
- 1 opo squash peeled, thinly sliced and quartered
- 2-3 tbsp. dried baby shrimp
- 1/4 cup dried wood ear mushrooms, soaked
- 1 package enoki mushrooms chopped
- water + 1 1/2 tsp starch
- 1 bag pea sprouts
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 3 tbsp. light soy sauce
- heat some oil in a pan and gently fry the dried shrimp for a few seconds then add in the squash, add a little water (about 1/2 a cup) and cook covered about 2 minutes
- add in the light soy sauce, cook for another minute or so then ad in the mushrooms and cook covered another 2 minutes
- add in the pea sprouts and cover, cooking until the pea sprouts cook through maybe another 2 minutes or so
- add in the sugar and some more salt if necessary, add in the starch mixture and stir for about a minute until thickened then plate and enjoy!
you can add a little pinch of white pepper for a nice kick if you would like.