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Chi qua

chi qua
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Otherwise known as:
Hairy melon, fuzzy gourd, Chinese preserving melon, wax gourd, moa qua (hairy gourd).

Preparation and cooking
The best quality chi quas are the hairy ones! This shows that they are fresh, young, and have not been handled too much. It is best to pick them up using a plastic bag as a glove - the fine hairs can be irritating, especially to those with sensitive skin. However, the hairs are easily rubbed off with a sponge or paper towelling after purchase. Chi quas are a tropical vegetable and are sensitive to temperatures less than 10°C. For this reason, it is best to store them in a cool place (12-15°C) rather than inside the fridge. As their skin is a good barrier to water loss, they can stay firm for up to two weeks under these conditions.

Very young chi quas can be eaten raw, but the vegetables are more usually cooked. They have a mild, pleasant flavour not unlike zucchini. They can be peeled, then chunks added to soup or steamed. Sliced or shredded chi qua is a good addition to a stir fry. They are particularly good when the seedy core is scraped out and the gourd stuffed with pork, prawns or other flavoursome mixtures before baking or steaming.

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