Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Teasle Gourd

A common backyard staple in our region is the Teasle gourd.
In the rainy season, all kinds of gourds flood the markets--
ridge, snake, bottle, ash, and bitter gourd, but the teasle
is my favourite! Even the bloom (pictured above) is beautiful!
This plant also grows in the wild. On a recent trip, I saw the
climber on roadsides, at the edge of the jungle.

Here's the climber on the guava tree. Last year the growth wasn't
worth a trellis and I forgot all about it. But recently, I noticed
it even had some of the fruit ready for the picking! A bonus really,
because while looking for the gourd I invariably find a ripe guava
behind a leaf!

The Teasle gourd/Momordica dioica originated in the Indian sub-
continent and is cultivated in our neighbouring countries too.
The vegetable has a mild taste and according to Wiki, is rich in
calcium, phosphorus, iron, and carotene. Edible parts are the
fruit and the tender leaves. The vegetable is known as Kakrol. In
Assam we call it Bhat kerela.

Propagation is through the tuberous roots. With the first rains
in March, tender shoots sprout from the tubers. Then I loosen up
the soil, add manure and leave it to Mother Nature.I have dug up
one tuber and planted it in another spot. It's doing well but no
blooms so far. Roadside flower shops generally sell the tubers
before the rainy season.

Harvest! Need I add that everything I grow tends to be much
smaller than what's available in the market?

Fried on their own or stuffed with spicy potatoes and then fried
in a batter, the taste is great! I also boil them (in very little
water), mash them, add chopped onions, pepper, salt and fresh
herb. Goes well with rice/dal.

And the one that I missed!! Too ripe to be consumed. The
contrast of colours is striking, don't you think?


marmee said...

hey wanted to say hi...been a busy summer...hope all is well.
lovely header photo.
those green pear like things are eaten?

walk2write said...

You always have such interesting things growing, Kanak. Are those seeds at all edible, maybe roasted like pumpkin seeds?

Barbee' said...

Sounds very good, but I must say, they look dangerous. Are those sharp spines all over them?

Nicole said...

Wow-I have never seen anything like this-though when ripe it is very similar to the bitter melon in appearance and color. The blooms are a bit similar, too.

Kanak Hagjer said...

Hi Marmee...good to see you!! Thank you for commenting on the header photo. These gourds are delicious. Really!

W2W, the mature seeds are hard and best discarded. But the tender ones are left intact when cooked. They're rather like the seeds of the bitter gourd... the seed 'cover' turning red. In such cases,( I mean the bitter gourd) when fresh seeds are scattered in the garden, the red covering is removed. Otherwise the ants get them first!

Kanak Hagjer said...

Hello Barbee', the spiny appearance is deceptive! It's easy to handle the fruit. It's like handling an object with a rough exterior but not so rough that it's abrasive or it causes pain.

Thank you for stopping by...always lovely to have you!

Hi Nicole, glad to read your comment. It's all about belonging to the same family! It's popular in our region but I'm not too sure about the other parts of India. These are hot favourites in Bangladesh and Sri lanka too!

Anonymous said...

How very interesting and what great photos Kanak. Fun to see the vivid colors in that last photo and it's good to know how you prepare the dish too.

tina said...

It's really neat and I bet I know what you are having for dinner:)

Anonymous said...

Now they look interesting, rather furry and small.

islandgal246 said...

hey Kanak we used to play with a fruit like that when we were kids. It had a spiny appearance and when ripe we would suck on the seeds. We called it karilli. Didn't know it can be eaten green. It grows wild here in the islands.

Prospero said...

Excellent Kanak. I'm growing Gac fruit (Momordica cochinchinensis Spreng). I think they are similar. Do you know?

Susie said...

I've not heard of this one before Kanak.

Love the pic of the bowl of the fruit. I was wondering how you cooked it. The recipe sounds good.

I do like the contrast of colors in the last picture. Very pretty.

Shailaja said...

So, that's what it is, the teasle gourd! I've seen it in our local market, too, but didn't know what it was. I might dare to buy some now, and I have some yummy recipes to try out,too :)

Stephanie said...

Hmm... I have never seen this gourd here before. Maybe it is just not one of our common food. Have a beautiful day Kanak :-)

Autumn Belle said...

Kanak, when green it looks very hairy. When riped, is yellow colour the flesh or the skin? I'm blurred already. The red is very striking.

Kanak Hagjer said...

Mildred/Barry, thanks!

Tina, you made the right guess!!

Helen, that sounds interesting! I don't think I've come across kairili. Will surely google!

Prospero, wish I could say I do but I've only seen it on the internet. The bloom/leaves look very similar.

Susie, glad to read this. Thanks!

Shailaja, I think parwar recipes will be good for the teasle gourd too! Bon appetit!

Steph, thanks for telling me. Was curious to see the response! have a great day too!

Autumn Belle, it's both the skin and the flesh. Theyy turn a vivid yellow. The skin actually looks yellowish-orange. The red is the same shade you see on the ripe bitter gourd.

Thank you for stopping by.

NatureStop said...

Kanak,interesting post.I miss bhat kerelas as it's not available here(not that I really liked them at home:).

lotusleaf said...

I have seen this gourd when we were in Orissa, but I have never cooked them.

Carol said...

Always a treat to visit your garden... love the contrasting colors of your Kakrol. Lovely to see the progression of growth to fruit! Great shots!

Bangchik and Kakdah said...

Such a cute looking gourd... the red seed coatings and yellow flesh is gourd's true signature... Lets there be bucketful harvest!!

ShySongbird said...

We don't have those here but your recipe sounds delicious.

Kanak Hagjer said...

Ruby, can't imagine anyone not liking bhat kerela!!! You might want to have it when you're here next!

Padma, you could try won't be disappointed. My sister who lives in Chennai told me that she's never seen the teasle gourd in the supermarkets. I guess it's very much an eastern thing!!

Carol, thank you so much! And loved that you used the Indian term:-)

Bangchik, thanks a ton! A bucketful would be really nice!

Thanks Jan. The stuffed one is very similar to baked potatoes. It's just that this is coated in batter and deep fried.