Colloquially, in India, it is often called green potato. It is widely cultivated in the eastern part of India, particularly in Orissa, Bengal, Assam, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh. It is a vine plant, similar to cucumber and squash, though unlike those it is perennial. It is a dioecious (male and female plants) vine (creeper) plant with heart-shaped leaves (cordate) and is grown on a trellis. The fruits are green with white or no stripes. Size can vary from small and round to thick and long - 2 to 6 inches (5 to 15 cm). It thrives well under a hot to moderately warm and humid climate.
Chopped pointed gourd
To prepare pointed gourd for cooking, wash thoroughly, then cut in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with a sharp spoon or corer and discard.Put the washed and peeled gourd on a chopping board and chop them in small 1-2 inch sized pieces with a sharp knife.The gourd can be chopped into big chunks or small pieces as per the recipe.
Pointed gourd cubes- Remove the outer rind and take out the fleshy interiors. Deseed the gourd and place on the chopping board. Cut the gourd into small cubes with a sharp chopping knife and relish them in curries.
Pointed gourd Juliennes- With a sharp knife the gourd is sliced on four sides to create a thick rectangular stick, and then cut lengthwise into approximately 3 mm (1/8 inch) slices. Stacking these slices and again cutting lengthwise into strips creates thin uniform square sticks called juliennes. It is applied to deep frying or in stir fry techniques.
Grated gourd- this requires grating the pointed gourd (after peeling) in a hand held grater.
Pointed gourd peels- Peel the gourd with the peeler and the peels can be later used in soups or therapeutic stews.
Sliced pointed gourd Cut the gourd longitudinally to get thin or thick strips or slices as per the recipe.
How to select
Young immature pointed gourds are the best for cooking: the skin is bright green in color, the flesh inside is white, and the seeds are small and tender. Do not use mature pointed gourds as they tend to be less flavourful. The fully ripe fruit turns orange and mushy, is too sweet to eat.
It is used as ingredients of soup, stew, curry, sweet, or eaten fried and as dorma with roe or meat stufings.
Parwal can be is cooked in variety of ways such as a boiled for soups and stews, curried or fried.
Parwal soup is traditionally prepared for sick people in Nepal
In the cuisines of South Asia and the West Indies, it is often prepared with potatoes and served with yogurt on the side or used in subzis.
In Indonesia, pointed gourd is prepared in various dishes, such as stir fry, cooked in coconut milk, or steamed.
How to store
To store pointed gourd, wash and dry them gently and place them in bags. They should last a week, when stored in refrigerator at 50° F.
Pointed gourd contains vitamin A, B1, B2, and C. It also contains minerals like calcium, phosphorous, iron, copper and potassium.
From the ayurvedic perspective, pointed gourd is excellent for balancing Kapha. It helps purify blood tissue, enhances digestion, and stimulates the liver.
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