Saturday, October 13, 2012

Luffa Gourd - Gheeraula (घीरौला, पाटे घीरौला)

Luffa Gourd - (घीरौला, पाटे घीरौला )

The following are the two varieties of Luffa Gourd -  one with smooth skin and another is ridged skin are the member of Cucurgitceae (gourd) family.  It is widely grown in Nepal for cooking purpose.  Both species have climbing vines, cooked similar way and is very popular vegetable item in Nepal. 

Angled Luffa Gourd - Patee Gheeraula (पाटे घीरौला)
Angled luffa is called pate-gheeraula, is also known as ridged luffa, angled gourd, or Chinese okra.  It is long and narrow gourd, with sharply ribbed skin.  Only the young or immature luffa is used for cooking, once mature they develop a sponge-like fibrous texture and becomes bitter.

Smooth Luffa Gourd - Gheeraula - (घीरौला)
The smooth luffa is also known as silk gourd, sponge gourd, or toriya and is an extremely popular vegetable in Nepal.  It resembles a long cucumber with a smooth green skin marked by fine longitudinal lines.  The young gourd is sweet with a delicate and distinctive taste.
  Common name:  Ridged Luffa, Angles-luffa, Chinese Okra, Loofa or Loofah - Botanical name: Luffa acutangula (L) Roxb (Gourd Family).  Here is a picture of Patee-Ghiraulaa grown in our home garden.

The vegetable grows in the climbing vine plant which has rounded leaves and yellow flowers.  The plant is native to India and widely cultivated in Tropical Asia. 
Here is a picture of freshly picked vegetables from my home garden - they are bitter melon (तितो करेला) in the front, zucchini squash (फरसी), cucumber (काँक्रो) and pumpkin vine shoots (फरसी को मुन्टा) in the back.
Patee-Ghiraula has a sharply ribbed skin surface.  They are dull green colored, cylinder in shape, which may grow more than a foot in length.  It is narrow and tapered at the stem-end and becomes wider as it grows.
The young fruits are edible when they are tender or  immature.  Once they mature, they form sponge-like fibrous texture and become bitter and inedible.  Luffa gourds are cooked like any squash vegetable.  Before cooking, you have to remove all the ridges, leaving only smooth creamy-white flesh, and make sure to scoop out all the matured seeds and fibers.
The matured vegetable are left in the vine to age further and made into bath sponges and pot scrubbers.
A collection of Natural Sponges made from home-grown Luffa Gourd.

Harvesting Smooth Gourd from my home garden. The young fresh vegetable has a tender skin and easily breaks if not handled properly during harvesting and packing.  They are cut from the vine, rather than pulled,  to avoid any damage.
Here is another picture of freshly picked homegrown Gheeraula.  The mild tasting vegetable has a delicious flavor and spongy texture.  It can be cooked by itself or combined with potato, radish or other vegetables.  The gourd takes the flavor of whatever other ingredients it is paired with. 
These two picture of smooth gourd in different size and shapes displayed at the local open vegetable markets in Kathmandu.
Enjoy Nepal's one of the most delicious Gourd vegetable!

Copyright Information

All information on the Taste of Nepal blog are restricted use under copyright law. You may not re-use words, stories, photographs, or other posted material without the explicit written consent and proper credit to Jyoti Pathak. If you would like to use any materials here, please contact me.