These simple Ginger & Chilli Courgettes are soft, spicy and the perfect vegan friendly side to any number of Asian inspired dishes. The courgettes (also known as zucchini) are gently and slowly fried then doused in seasoning just before serving.
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I find it all to easy to focus on “main” dishes and the rice or noodle element of Asian dishes. Whilst many of those mains like my Teriyaki Tofu include plenty of veg already, some like my Satay Chicken Skewers are rather lacking!
So I am trying to make a conscious effort to up my Asian inspired vegetable sides game. And I’ve hit a winner with these slow fried courgettes. Courgettes are cut thick and then fried slowly in a good amount of oil so they’re soft and unctuous. The cooking method is almost like making confit courgettes!
Saying this, they’re still ready to go in around 20 minutes. And most of that time is fairly hands off where the slices of zucchini are left to slowly cook and soften.
How to Make Ginger & Chilli Courgettes – Step By Step Video
How to Serve Ginger & Chilli Courgettes
These fragrant and spicy courgettes are best eaten as hot as possible straight out of the pan. They can be portioned up and served on each person’s plate or put out for everyone to serve themselves depending on the type of meal that you’re having.
Whilst I have largely suggested this dish as a side, they can also be made the hero of the show. Just like my Satay Sprouts recipe, the portion size of these courgettes can be doubled or tripled and served as a vegan main course along with a variety of other dishes like Chow Mein, Miso Soup and Sticky Rice.
Make Ginger & Chilli Zucchini into a Feast
I truly believe that you can make any dish into a proper feast! Whether thats a feast for one after work on a Tuesday, a casual feast for four on a Friday evening or a feast for 12 for a special occasion!
This veggie side dish would make an excellent addition to any of my big Asian feasts. Especially my Big Asian Feast and Vegetarian Asian Feast. It is equally at home in a carnivorous feast as a veggie one!
Don’t forget to head over to the Big Asian Feast post for all of my tips and tricks to help you host a fun and stress-free feast. Plus remember to check out my other feast collections and all my Asian inspired recipes.
Ingredients for Spicy Ginger Courgettes
You might have noticed that I have flip flopped about calling this vegetable both courgette and zucchini throughout this post.
That’s because people from around the world visit this site and I don’t especially want to confuse or exclude anyone. Call it whatever you will, just don’t buy a cucumber by mistake!
If you have the option, please buy the largest courgette you can find. I don’t mean marrow large (more on that in a moment) but around 2 inches across would be ideal. This means you can slice it quite chunky and have maximum surface area to suck up all the ginger and chilli flavours.
So is a marrow just a large courgette? No, not technically but very nearly. Marrows and courgettes are ever so slightly different. The plants have been cultivated to have their own characteristics. So you wouldn’t buy marrow seeds and pick them early to get courgettes or vice versa.
Whilst we’re talking about the horticulture, I should also mention that zucchinis are squashes. So they’re part of the same overall family as pumpkins and butternut squashes. Here in the UK that is pretty much the extent of commercially available squashes but in other parts of the world, many other varieties are equally common.
Yellow summer squashes are also similar to courgettes and would be a great substitute in this recipe if they are available to you. But stick to summer squash varieties. Winter squashes are much harder in texture and require much longer cooking times.
As I regularly mention, I tend to not buy fresh ginger but the kind that comes in a jar or tube. I find this minimises food waste and means that I always have it on hand. Not having to peel or crush it is also time saving.
You can of course make your own ginger paste by peeling and crushing fresh ginger. Try to avoid any really tough or stalky bits. Save them for a stock.
For more ginger based recipes, check out my 8 Things to Do with Ginger collection of sweet and savoury recipes.
To find out about more of my favourite Asian Ingredients, check out my guide to the Top 16 Asian Ingredients which I always keep stocked in my pantry.
I’ve also suggested a whole bunch of recipes to try once your cupboard is fully stocked!
Technically if I am going to indulge other words for courgettes, I should really also refer to “chili oil” as well as “chilli oil”. But I think everyone will still get the point if I use the UK spelling here!
Small jars of chilli oil are available in supermarkets and Asian grocers. I tend to prefer the kind that come packed with dried chilli flakes in them rather than pre-strained oil. There are many varieties and heats available so choose your poison to your own personal preference.
I like to choose a flavour packed smokey number with a good helping of dried shrimp or other such fermented fish. The savoury punch is like nothing else. Of course if you are catering for vegetarians or vegans, do make sure your chilli oil is suitable.
There are two elements to be flexible with here. The first is the vegetable. This cooking treatment would also work with bell peppers (capsicums) and aubergine. Peppers want to be cut into flat slices. Aubergines are probably best cut into rounds at about the same thickness as the courgette.
The second is the flavourings. You can omit the chilli oil entirely if you wish. You could replace it with sesame oil like with my sesame tenderstem broccoli. Or switch out the ginger paste for garlic paste.
Or even better, use garlic salt as the seasoning from the start of cooking. I’ve explained my love of garlic salt in more detail in my Garlic Roasted Sweet Potato recipe.
Basically, you can take the basic cooking technique and add in any sauces or flavourings you prefer.
Make it Vegetarian or Vegan
This recipe is naturally suitable for both vegetarians and vegans.
You do however need to be careful to make sure that the chilli oil you are using doesn’t include any seafood like dried shrimp as this is quite common in Asian chilli sauces.
Make it Allergy Friendly
This recipe is free from gluten, dairy, egg and nuts. Winner!
Please note that this recipe may contain other allergens not referred to above and any variations suggested have not been tested unless otherwise stated. For more information regarding any dietary information provided on this website, please refer to my Nutritional Disclaimer.
Equipment Notes for Ginger & Chilli Zucchini
But there is one item which makes cooking a dish like this extra easy. And that is a cast iron skillet. Which I am a huge fan of. I’m building my collection of different sizes so I have one for every occasion.
The reason they are so amazing is the way that the heat distributes over the whole surface of the pan. You do need to get them super hot from the get go, but then that heat will be retained. And the heat also permeates up and into whatever you are cooking.
This avoids one side of your food getting burnt while the top remains raw and uncooked. And therefore you can just leave your food alone. You don’t need to constantly stir it.
A comprehensive list of the equipment used to make this recipe is included in the main recipe card below. Click on any item to see an example. There are no hard and fast rules so many items can be sensibly substituted to achieve the same results.
It is possible to cook the courgettes and then reheat them. But they are delicate. So do be careful. I also wouldn’t recommend adding the chilli oil until you are about to serve them.
This is one of the rare times that I would not recommend freezing a dish. As I said, they are delicate and it’s going to take you longer to freeze the slices individually and then reheat them than to just make the dish from scratch.
Leftovers can be reheated in a pan or microwave and served as originally intended.
Or you can chop them up and throw them into a stir fry. Adding them to a basic Chow Mein or egg fried rice would be a delicious idea.
If you have actual leftover raw courgette, you can treat yourself to a serving of my Griddled Courgettes tomorrow!
Chilli Courgettes Tips
Don’t be tempted to keep moving the courgettes around the pan while they’re cooking. Just leave them to do their thing. If you are worried that they are burning or browning too quickly, turn the heat down. Or even take the pan off the heat for a minute.
Do not add the chilli oil before the very end. It will cook, go acrid and you’ll struggle to breathe or go in your kitchen for hours. Learn from my mistakes people!
Don’t forget to let me know in the comments if you try making this recipe – I want to know what you think and if you made any substitutions, how did it turn out?
Still Have Questions?
Simple! Just contact me and I will do my best to help as quickly as I am able. Head over to my Contact Me page, any of my social media channels or post a comment at the bottom of this page and I’ll see what I can do.
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More Vegan Side Dishes
Ginger & Chilli Courgettes (Zucchini) Recipe
- 250 g Courgette (Zucchini) - approx
- ¼ tsp Sea Salt Flakes
- 2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
- 1 tsp Ginger Paste
- 1 tsp Chilli Oil
- ¼ tsp Toasted Sesame Seeds - optional garnish
- Slice 250g Courgette (Zucchini) into chunky slices on an angle to maximise surface area.
- Sprinkle ¼ tsp Sea Salt Flakes across all the slices, front and back.
- Heat 2 tbsp Vegetable Oil in a large frying pan on a medium-high heat.
- Add the courgette (zucchini) slices in a single layer. Turn the heat down to low. Don’t touch the slices and leave them to fry for 7 minutes. Adjust the heat a little as you need. Listen for a very gentle sizzle.
- Use tongs or a fish slice to carefully turn the slices. Leave for a further 7 minutes.
- Remove the courgette (zucchini) from the pan and leave it to drain on a little kitchen towel.
- Remove most of the oil from the pan. Leave a very thin layer.
- Fry 1 tsp Ginger Paste in the same pan on a low heat for 30 seconds.
- Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the slices back to the pan. Cook for a further 30 seconds on each side.
- Spoon 1 tsp Chilli Oil over the courgette (zucchini).
- Serve and garnish with ¼ tsp Sesame Seeds if you wish.