Thursday, March 15, 2012

Barelaa (Balsam Apple) बरेला

Barelaa (Balsam Apple) - बरेला
Barelaa is a late summer vegetable measuring between 1 to 2 inches long, slightly curved at one end with soft and delicate texture. The pale green juicy fruit looks somewhat like a pointed gourd (parwar or parvar).  The vegetable is picked and cooked when it is young and tender.  The mature overripe ones have numerous black rough seeds, which should be removed before cooking.  Since this vegetable is very delicate, it cooks quickly.

The common name of Barelaa is - Balsam Apple and the scientific name is Momordica balsamina (source - an introduction of Nepalese food plants)
Barelaa plant is an annual running vine - the leaf blades are hairy to smooth, with a bright yellow flower.
It is commonly grown in the warm hilly regions of Nepal.

Pale green Barelaa ready to be picked up (picture taken at my home garden).
Photo taken at Nepali Vegetable Market - Tarkaari Bazaar
Freshly picked Barelaa from my backyard home garden - getting ready to cook.

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  1. Interesting. I never knew what these were called. They make delicious tarkaari, though.

  2. Namaskar and thank you for commenting....would you like to share your recipe of Barela ko Tarkaari?

  3. I brought some seeds from Nepal last year. Some Barelaas are already grown up in my garden now. I would be very happy to find out some recipes for Bareaa. Thanks and regards,

    1. Namaskar and thank you for writing. Please check my cookbook, Taste of Nepal for Barelaa ko Tarkaari recipe under vegetables section.

    2. Where would I find seeds outside of Nepal?

    3. what is the outdoor temperature requirement for growing barela ?

    4. Thank you for stopping by - I grow Barelaa only in summer time when the temperature more than 65 degree...F

  4. Jyotijee, I am afraid your pictures and other details don't match the species Scientific name and Common name, please check: But, I would love to know the right scientific name and common name for the tasty vegetable in the picture. Thank you in advance.

  5. Thank you for commenting. I got the scientific name of Barelaa from a book "introduction of Nepalese Plants" . I checked the link you sent. It says the name -
    Momordica balsamina L.
    Published in: Sp. pl. 2:1009. 1753
    I am just a food writer and a blogger. Please check with the Nepali agriculture specialist for details. Appreciate your comment and stopping by to my page.

  6. I have an allotment in London where a lovely Nepalese gentleman has given me some seeds for next year. How do you cook this vegtable please