Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bitter Cucumber or Karella, Momordica charantia

Developing fruit of the Bitter Cucumber, Momordica charantia
This is a vegetable growing on a plot at the community garden. It is quite a delicate looking climber with lobed leaves like a Japanese Maple and tiny perfumed yellow flowers. I have read about it in books but have not had the chance to try cooking with the fruit. I like the description Joy Larkcom gives it, as something which has 'rubbed shoulders with an alligator in the primordial slime', as the skin is often warty or spiny. When the fruit matures it turns a bright orange-red colour and it splits open to reveal many black seeds. Karella is the name given to it in India where it is used in curries.


  1. Mmmmmm... I love these. Easy to grow and tasty, especially when stuffed with mashed potato and fried... Yummmmm! We call it Paavakka (in Tamil) or Kaakarakaaya (in Telugu).

  2. It is a good vegetable for diabetics too.

  3. It has so many name in English that sometime I found it a bit confusing bitter melon@bitter gourd. Japanese call them "goya" where Malaysia or Indonesia know it as "peria". I have success growing this plant in Adelaide. The foliage is really pretty.