Caigua , also known as achocha, is a wonderful vegetable available here in Ecuador. Our friend Lisa gave us some seeds last year and they were very easy to grow. Unfortunately they were so delicious that the iguanas cleaned them out as soon as the vines were large enough for a meal.
They are also called a stuffing cucumber and that’s basically the way we prepare it. It has a very mild taste and won’t over power whatever filling you use unlike cabbage or green pepper.
I’ve filled them with a mixture of ground beef and rice,( similar to stuffed cabbage) with a tomato sauce and rice and shrimp with a white mushroom sauce. Last night I wanted to try something different and had some veggies and frozen cooked lobster that I wanted to use. Frozen lobster? That’s almost a sin to freeze lobster here on the coast : you buy live lobster, cook it and eat it immediately. On Sunday afternoon while I was preparing dinner, we heard a “Hola” at our front door. A local fisherman that we know had three small lobsters for sale that we just couldn’t turn down. John cleaned them up a bit and then I put them into the boiling water. Since dinner was already prepared and I knew it would be a few days before we would use them they went into the freezer.
This is the recipe I used last night : I didn’t list the amount for the veggies , use whatever amounts you prefer – thought that was a cool way to say I didn’t measure what I put in 🙂
Diced green pepper
3 gloves of garlic, grated
1 cup rice ( would have preferred to use quinoa but didn’t have any available)
1 cup of lobster meat (defrosted)
2 TBS olive oil
2 TBS butter
1 – 2 TBS flour
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded cheddar
Cook rice and let cool. Slice off top of achocha, remove seeds. Place in 375 degree oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.
In a skillet add olive oil, shredded carrot, grated garlic, diced green peppers, and diced onion and saute until tender. Mix veggies, rice and lobster together. Season to taste with salt, pepper or whatever favorites you may have. John usually adds some hot and spicy to his portions.
For the cheese sauce, melt butter in saucepan, stir in flour, add milk, when hot, add cheese and remove from heat. Stir until melted and spoon over rice. Place in 350 oven for 15 minutes until heated through.
Buen Apetito !
Life is good in Ecuador !