One of our region’s much-loved summer vegetable is the Teasel Gourd/Momordica dioica. Various other gourds flood the markets around this time of the year but the sight of these little gourds is a joy, to say the least!
A little online research came up with this finding. This gourd, commonly known as bhaat kerela, in Assam, a cucurbitaceous crop originated in the Indo-Malayan region and has been cultivated in India, Bangladesh, and neighbouring countries for a long time. It is rich in carotene, protein, carbohydrate and Vitamin C.
It’s the mild taste of the vegetable that makes it widely popular. The leaves are also edible. It’s a climber with tuberous roots that slows down in winter. It’s only with the first rains that the shoots and leaves appear. By the end of May and well up to August, this vegetable is available in our markets.
We have them fried, add to mixed vegetables, fish curries, to lentils, and also stuff them. Here I used spicy potatoes for the stuffing. Tender ones are best, before the seeds are fully formed. They can be blanched, and the insides scooped out and the shells are ready for the stuffing. The flesh can be used on their own or mixed with other vegetables such as potatoes.
And since I had the pictures, I thought I’d include the blooms as well. This is the female flower. The fruit will soon form at the base. The picture is rather blurry.
These are the male flowers. No fruit will be borne by this plant. I saw this on a walk and I’m glad I snapped it. I wonder what veggies you are enjoying the most this season…..:)