I try to avoid the weekend crowd in Chinatown, my default grocery shopping mecca. I do not enjoy pushing myself through the crowd while lugging two handful of bags nor waiting in line to pay for my goods. But yes, that’s the beauty of the marketplace. Cannot deny that, so I try to take it all in if necessary.
Last Saturday, to my surprise, I came across this very, very interesting green that I have never seen before. I questioned the nice Chinese lady and she said it’s the leaves from a pumpkin. Really? Pumpkin grows leaves? Apparently so. They are called, well, pumpkin leaves.
The stems have a hairy texture (kind of like okra) and eerie, antanna-liked ferns grow top, right next to the leaves. The stems are quite fibrous, so you should peel off the stringy fiber for easy cooking and digestion. Pumpkin leaves are actually used in African recipes, but for me, I just kept it simple and cooked them with garlic, olive oil, and chili pepper. I rendered them down quite a bit, to break down the cellular walls. Taste-wise? Actually, I did not like them very much, to be honest. They are a bit grassy for me. So, I forsee using the pumpkin leaves in stews and soups to cover up their unique taste. I was glad I tried them though. You live, you learn. 🙂