Kantola  (Momordica dioica, or M. cochinchinensis) is a curious little gourd, commonly found in Indian in Southern Asian cuisines.  Sometimes it is called the spiny gourd or teasle gourd.

This little fruit is covered in little spines, but they aren’t sharp.  When the fruit is ripe- it changes from dark green to light green.  When it turns to yellow- it gets bitter.  Most commonly, this fruit is sliced and used in curries.  They are also pickled, or stuffed and steamed.  The out layer of skin should be removed before eating.

Kantola is related to the bitter melon, but does not resemble it in taste.  There are many health benefits that are purported.  They are full of phytonutrients and antioxidants, especially vitamin C.  They are high in folate, and may possibly reduce the blood sugar level.  It is also said to help with kidney stones when pulverized with water and drank every day.

Kantolas come to market around “monsoon” season- and are cultivated in the mountain regions of India.

© 2014 Chef Jennifer M. Denlinger       All rights reserved

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