The snake gourd or Buap nguu, serpent gourd, chichinga or Padwal are some of the other names it is known under.
Native to south-east Asia it is a vine that grows around a tree or trellis and then unfurls its large white frayed flowers. Then the fruits grow straight down towards the ground.
Snake gourds can grow up to 5 feet in length often a stone is tied to the small gourd to help it grow straight down as otherwise, it can grow into all sorts of shapes.
It turns orange when it is fully ripe but this is when it is very bitter so it is usually used in curries and raitas before it ripens fully.
Fully ripe fruit is quite inedible, orange and mushy, although the red, jelly-like substance surrounding the seeds can be eaten much as a tomato sauce in recipes or used in ayurvedic medicine. Seeds are often used as fodder for livestock but are toxic to humans.
The leaves, tendrils and other leafy parts are used as vegetable greens lightly steamed or raw.
Did you know?
Because of its length, it is used to make the traditional didgeridoo in Australia.
This one looks quite creepy I think and I was quite expecting to see a snake so I go along quite gingerly watching where I tread.
The snake gourd has a naturally occurring waxy white surface so rub some salt on the surface before cooking or using it to remove the waxy white surface.
Not a vegetable that I cook with very much but I do make raita which is lovely and cooling as an accompaniment to hot, spicy curries.
Snake Gourd Riata.
- 2 cups of natural yoghurt.
- 2 small snake gourds diced.
- 4-5 green chillies
- 2tbsp grated fresh coconut
- 10-15 shallots finely chopped.
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 2 tsp urad dal powder/paste
- A handful of coriander leaves chopped
- Salt to taste
- Oil as required.
Heat some oil on a medium flame and fry the mustard seeds and urad dal for 20 seconds.
Add green chillies and chopped shallots saute for 2 minutes, add diced snake gourd cook for 1-2 minutes and add grated coconut and mix well.
Remove from the heat allow to cool slightly, stir in yoghurt and add salt to taste.
Garnish with coriander and serve.
The snake gourds strange names and appearance have often caused it to be overlooked for its health benefits. It is proven to be very effective at improving the strength of the body’s immune system, reducing fevers and treating diabetes. Currently, there is ongoing medical research into other health benefits of the Snake Gourd.
Update on my garden and new seedlings…
Having discovered a new Marketplace here which has lots of rare and beautiful fruits and vegetables some of which are seeds and some are plants(seedlings) I am in my element.
My Thai Purple Melon arrived and is happily repotted… smaller than I thought but hopefully, it will grow and thrive… my seeds for the beautiful rainbow treasure chilli arrived the other day…and I have potted them in eggshells…I am eagerly awaiting to see them pop their little heads above ground…
Thank you for reading this post I do hope you have enjoyed it…If you have used or seen this snake gourd and cook with it please share in the comments as you know I love to chat…Love Carol xx