Fuzzy Melon and Glass Vermicelli Stir-fry (Daai Ji Maa Gaa Neoi) – 大姨媽嫁女

Fuzzy Melon and Glass Vermicelli Stir-fry (Daai Ji Maa Gaa Neoi)

What’s in a name of a dish? Many well known dishes are named after regions, a method of cooking, or ingredients used mainly as descriptors. Some are named in honor of emperors, kings, or famous persons. Others are puns on words giving the dish an auspicious meaning as in the case of the Chinese New Year dishes which I recently talked about here. Finally, there are those that makes you go “Huh? Can you say that again please?”

One such dish in that last category is this Fuzzy Melon and Glass Vermicelli Stir-fry I am sharing with you today. It happens to be one of my favorite childhood dishes which Mom often cooked. It is a very simple dish with two of my favorite ingredients in it – beancurd sheet and glass vermicelli. I have not been able to replicate this dish until very recently when to my delight, I came across this fuzzy melon at the Asian grocery store. The name of this dish is Daai Ji Maa Gaa Neoi (大姨媽嫁女) which means eldest aunt marrying off her daughter in Cantonese. I have no clue as to why this dish is named as such. Some have suggested that the ease in which the dish is prepared is akin to the eldest aunt marrying off her daughters because she has so many of them. :o

Fuzzy Melon and Glass Vermicelli Stir-fry (Daai Ji Maa Gaa Neoi)

As a recipe developer and a food blogger, the finishing touch to my dish is naming it. When the cooking is done and the pictures taken, I ponder on the name for my dish. Fortunately for me, Ro-Ri San is a major resource in this area and he has helped me name many dishes on this blog. Here are a few examples…

Blushing Betty The White Cake Album Pasta con Nutella

CNY2014-Label4Tutti-frutti Spa-ghetti Fire n Ice Soup Ebony n Ivory Dessert

CNY2014-Label4

Fuzzy melon or hairy gourd 节瓜 (jié guā) or 毛瓜(máo guā) resembles a large hairy zucchini. It is related to the winter melon and has a deep green skin that is slightly spotted with tiny hairs on it, hence its name. The skin is normally peeled and the flesh julienned or cubed. It is then stir-fried, cooked in a soup, or stuffed and steamed.

Fuzzy Melon and Glass Vermicelli Stir-fry (Daai Ji Maa Gaa Neoi)

Traditionally, the fuzzy melon is cooked with dried shrimp, minced pork, and glass vermicelli. Mom cooks it with dried shrimps, glass vermicelli, and blistered (or fried in oil) beancurd sheets. I substituted the dried shrimps with fresh shrimps for the sake of my boys. They both love the dish especially Ro-Jiro. Prior to finding the fuzzy melon, I have been cooking a similar dish with shredded cabbage, carrots, tofu puffs, and glass vermicelli. That is also a favorite of theirs.

Fuzzy Melon and Glass Vermicelli Stir-fry (Daai Ji Maa Gaa Neoi)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Ingredients
  • 1 small bundle glass vermicelli (mung bean threads)
  • 1 (about 1lb/450g) fuzzy melon (jié gua) or (máo gua)
  • 5 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 dried beancurd sheets
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ lb (225g) shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • ½ cup (120ml) water
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • Salt
Instructions
  1. Soak glass vermicelli in a bowl of water for 15 minutes to soften. Drain.
  2. Peel fuzzy melon with a vegetable peeler. Cut into thin slices of about ⅛th inch thickness and then into strips.
  3. Heat 3 tablespoons of canola oil in a wok. Add dried beancurd sheet one at a time to brown and blister. Remove and break into smaller pieces.
  4. In the same wok, add remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Fry garlic till fragrant. Add shrimps and cook till they curl and turn pink. Add fuzzy melon, glass vermicelli, water*, soy sauce, and salt to taste. Give it a good stir. Finally add fried beancurd sheets. Allow it to soften** before stirring to get everything well mixed.
  5. Remove and serve immediately.
Notes
*The water is needed to cook the glass vermicelli. The water will eventually be all soaked up by the vermicelli.

**Blistered beancurd sheets should be allowed to soften with the steam before stirring to prevent them from breaking into tiny pieces.


Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day! 8-)

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Comments

  1. says

    I really enjoyed reading your post. :) I love the traditional name of this dish “oldest aunt marrying off her daughter”… so funny. :) I bought some sweet potato starch noodles (very much like this) from my Asian store. Hmmmm… looks like I have a recipe to try. I don’t know if I can find the fuzzy melon though. I love the fresh shrimp in it and your other recipe of using cabbage. Really nice. :)

    • Biren says

      Thanks Ramona! It is good to know you enjoyed reading the post. Growing up and even now, I often wondered what the person was thinking when he/she named this dish. :)

      Yes, sweet potato noodles are very much like glass vermicelli. The Koreans used sweet potato noodles a lot and I have a recipe that you may want to check out http://www.rotinrice.com/2011/09/japchae/. Of course you can also use those noodles in this recipe. :)

  2. says

    This sounds healthy and tasty! I don’t think I’ve had fuzzy melon before, although I make something similar using chokoes instead, with glass noodles and eggs. Is the beancurd sheet you use the kind for wrapping loh bak?

    • Biren says

      Hi Fern, thanks for visiting. :)

      The beancurd sheet I used in this recipe is different from the on used for lobak. These are dried beancurd sheets normally used in soups and stir-fry. If you have the patience, you can use a damp cloth to wipe these dried sheets to moistened them for wrapping lobak.

  3. says

    What a funny name! I tried to think if we have some dishes that has a funny name that I can share with you…but at the moment I can’t remember or think of any. I love vermicelli and I bet it goes so well with shrimp and fuzzy melon. I love your picture!

  4. says

    Hey Biren, Happy CNY! Guess what! This is one of my fave dishes & I really love this. What a nice treat! Sorry for the long absence as I’ve been really busy over CNY. Lol!

  5. says

    Biren – This vermicelli dish is making me really hungry. It looks and sounds so delicious. I don’t think I’ve ever seen fuzzy melon, but I will look out for one next time I go to an Asian market.

  6. says

    Hi Biren, I remember having this dish before in my parent’s home when I was growing up. But somehow, I’ve forgotten about it until seeing your post here! I don’t remember how we called this dish at home, and I didn’t know that this dish had such a funny name. But one thing I do know is that this is a yummy dish! Thanks for sharing this recipe! =)

  7. says

    I love fried bean curd sheet so much especially in cooking with veggies. And your look superb. Slurp…
    Happy ‘Yuen Xiao Jie’ to you & your family. Hope you’re having a wonderful day, Biren.
    Cheers
    Kristy

  8. says

    Yes naming the dish is most difficult…lucky you have such help. There is one dish I made that I grew up with the name of the dish Rum-tum-tidy, not sure of what it means, but I think it has an English background…funny name.

    I have some Korean sweet potato noodles too (they came in such a large amount). I will try your beautiful dish.

  9. says

    I don’t know if I’ve ever had a dish with crispy bean curd. I bet the texture it adds is fantastic. Does it represent the “elderly aunt”? :) Love all of the other ingredients – very unusual. Looks like another fabulous dish!

  10. slau says

    I think the name came about because eldest aunt was such a cheapskate that when she married off her daughter, this was what she served the guests. I have used courgettes and English gourd as a substitute for hairy melon and we actually like that more.

    • Biren says

      Thanks Slau for visiting and sharing your thoughts about how the name of this dish came to be. :) I agree with you that courgettes or zucchini (as it is known here) is an excellent substitute for the hairy melon.

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