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Malabar cucumbers are medium in size and have a cylindrical and elongated shape, averaging 15-20 centimeters in length. When young, the skin is smooth and light green with dark green striping and transforms into a vibrant orange with golden yellow striping when mature. The flesh is aqueous, off-white to cream-colored, and crunchy. There are also many small, bitter white seeds in the center of the flesh. Malabar cucumbers are crunchy and watery with a mild, floral taste.
Malabar cucumbers are available year-round, with a peak season in the summer.
Malabar cucumbers, botanically classified as Cucumis maderaspatensis, are the fruits of a creeping vine and belong to the same family as pumpkins and melons. Also known as Madras cucumbers, Mangalore cucumbers, and Field marrow, Malabar cucumbers are commonly found in Southern India and used in Mangalorean, Keralan, and Goan curries and chutneys. Malabar cucumbers are favored for home gardens because they are fast growing and mature on the vine within two weeks. Malabar cucumbers are versatile and can be harvested when they are green, young and firm, or they can be left to mature and are harvested when orange, soft, and slightly crunchy.
Malabar cucumbers contain vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E. They also contain antioxidants and minerals such as magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium.
Malabar cucumbers are rarely eaten raw and are best suited for boiling, stir-frying, or pickling. They are commonly sliced and boiled in sambar, which are lentil-based stews of southern India and are sliced and added to curries or stir-fries. Malabar cucumbers are also diced in chutneys, mixed with salt, water, and spices to create pickles, or grated into dosas which are fermented rice or gram flour pancakes. Malabar cucumbers pair well with tamarind, garlic, onions, chiles, and coconut. Malabar cucumbers will keep for a couple of weeks, depending on maturity, when stored in a perforated bag in the refrigerator.
Malabar cucumbers are found in southern India and are valued for their mild flavor and versatility. They are mainly grown in home gardens rather than commercially, but they are a part of many traditional Indian recipes. They are commonly used in curries, stir-fries, and vegetable side dishes mixed with coconut and raw mango paste in Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Kanataka, and Andhra Pradesh. Malabar cucumbers are known as Mogge or Magge in the Konkani dialect, which simply means “colored cucumber.”
The exact origin of Malabar cucumbers is unknown and is under some debate. According to a 1789 catalog at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in Britain, the Malabar cucumber was introduced to India by Scottish botanist William Roxburgh. However, according to locals in southern India, there is a reference to the Malabar cucumber in Indian literature that pre-dates the arrival of the British. Today Malabar cucumbers can be found in local markets and specialty grocers in India, China, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bhutan.
Recipes that include Malabar Cucumbers. One is easiest, three is harder.
|NDTV Food||Malabar Cucumber Relish with Peanuts|