Kantola / spine gourd, the small spiny vegetable can easily pass as a distant relative of the bitter gourd. They look somewhat similar in appearance but there is no similarity in taste.
Kantoli- Appearance, texture, and taste.
Kantola / Spine gourd comes from the gourd family. Kantoli is small about the size of a lemon i.e. around 2-4cms in length.
It has a spiny surface.
The color is usually green, shades change to greenish yellow or yellow as it ripens. It has a distinct taste of its own.
Teasel gourd (English), Karkotaki (Sanskrit), Kantholi/Kartoli (Marathi), Kantola (Hindi), Bara karela ( Rajasthani, Bhat Korola/ kakrol (Bengali)
Kantoli/Spine gourd Though not a native of India is grown in many different parts of India and has medicinal properties. It is mainly available during the late summers to monsoons.
Purchasing and storing:
Preferably buy green but even the greenish yellow ones can be used.
They can easily be stored in the fridge for over a week.
How to clean a Kantola?
- Wash the surface clean.
- Remove the stem.
- Cut into slices, pieces or rings.
Kantola has carbohydrates, proteins, fat, fiber and nutrients like vitamin c, some B vitamins, phytonutrients, flavonoids, and antioxidants.
Though there are many dishes one can make using kantola. Some of the dishes known to me include:
- Stuffed spine gourd
- Dry vegetable.