Help Wanted: Upo Recipes!

I’ve posted quite a bit about my Dad’s garden this summer and I have really enjoyed it. I am so appreciative of the garden. I can grab basil or mint right when I need it, eggplants go from garden to table in minutes, and it’s kind of amazing to see beans and bitter melon go from nothing to ready-to-eat within a day or two. It’s also been really nice and rewarding for my entire family to be able to share the harvest with our friends.

One of the weirder items that my Dad grows is upo aka bottle gourd aka calabash. Here’s a picture of the plant from about a month ago:

And here’s how it looked yesterday:

The ‘meat’ of upo is quite watery. We use it a lot in soups, or we simply stir-fry it. Either way, it requires flavor. Shrimp or pork are typically cooked with upo. So here is where I ask YOU for your help! Have you cooked upo? What vegan recipes can you share? Upo seems to be used in many different ways by many cultures. I’m looking for a little guidance, and I will gladly blog about whatever recipe(s) I try.

If you have a recipe or idea to share, leave a comment! Thank you!!! –Melissa

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5 thoughts on “Help Wanted: Upo Recipes!

  1. Lorena says:

    My Filipina grandma usually makes upo into a soup or a simple salad with tomatoes, garlic and other odds and ends that escape me. You could try Vegan Pinoy’s ginisang upo for a vegan take on a traditional dish.

    Also, my Mexican grandparents usually make calabacita (upo is considered a summer squash and it’s pretty interchangeable with other squash recipes) into a taco-like filling with ground meat (not all too different from ginisang upo actually) and tomatoes. They serve it with beans, rice and tortillas.

    Lastly, my Sicilian husband’s family makes squash dishes with cucuzza (a general term for calabash/summer squash) and tomatoes. I used to make a layered eggplant parmigiana casserole, where I alternated squash with eggplant slices, topped it with marinara and cheese, then baked it in the oven. Just be sure to salt and rinse your eggplant slices, then briefly bake them in the oven on a cookie sheet before getting the casserole together (I baked them for about 5 minutes then flipped and baked for another 5).

    Regardless, I don’t think you’ll go wrong combining the upo with tomatoes — if three different countries make it that way, it seems like a sure bet! Good luck and good eating!

  2. greg says:

    hi. does the bottle gourd plant die after the harvest? i want to plant bottle gourds also for ornamental reasons. it will provide great shade to our arbor. but i am hesitating to plant this because i have read that bottle gourd is an annual plant. so i am assuming that after the plant has developed fruits, the whole plant will eventually wither. am i correct? i do not want the hassle of removing all the dead plants from the trellis and the arbor.

    • Melissa says:

      Hi, Greg! I’m 99.9% sure that they are an annual plant. We do re-plant every spring. Some summers we end up with just a few giant gourds and other times we end up with several medium-sized ones. The plant is giant and beautiful no matter what and worth the clean-up, in my opinion. Hope this helps. 🙂

  3. greg says:

    “clean-up”….allergic to the word. haha. leaving the dead brown leaves on the trellises might not look appealing.

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