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Teasel gourd is available during the monsoon season in India (late spring through summer).
Botanically known as Cucumis dipsaceus, the Teasel gourd is a popular vegetable in the coastal regions of India. The small spiky gourd is so popular in the Konkani region on the western coast of India that it is incorporated into many of the local monsoon festivals. Outside of India, the Teasel gourd, or Hedgehog gourd is planted as an ornamental climbing vine. Teasel gourd is also known as Kakroll or Phaagil in different areas and dialects in India.
The Teasel gourd is an egg-shaped, yellow-ish green fruit, covered with a thick layer of soft spines. It has crisp, watery flesh filled with small seeds, similar to its cucumber relative. The Teasel gourd’s flavor is similar to bitter melon with light astringent notes.
Teasel gourd has antibiotic properties and has been used in Ayurvedic medicine to help blood circulation.
Teasel gourd is often served fried or stuffed, one of the most popular dishes made with Teasel gourd is Phaagila Podi, or Teasel fritters. Stuffed Teasel gourd is popular in Bengali cuisine. The spiky skin is cut away and the gourd cut in half; the seeds are scooped out with a spoon and added to a mixture of spices and chiles for the filling. After stuffing the seed and spice mixture into the hollow cavity of the Teasel gourd it is dipped in batter and fried in oil until browned. Slice a peeled Teasel gourd into several rounds, dust with rice flour and spices and pan fry. Teasel gourd’s mild taste picks up the spices and flavors of whatever is cooked along with it. Many dishes made with Teasel gourd are paired with rice.
The Teasel gourd is native to northeastern tropical Africa, though it can be found growing in India, Hawaii and in a small area of Baja California. Called ‘Kantola’ in Hindi, the Teasel gourd grows wild and is gathered during monsoon season. Teasel gourd can also be found frozen in Indian markets.
Recipes that include Teasel Gourd. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Manidipa's Kitchen||Stuffed Teasel Gourd Pakora|
|Love Food Eat||Pan-Fried Teasel Gourd|