A neighbour brought back a big homegrown ash gourd [tung kwa] and gave us [her friends] each a piece of it. So I cooked my family's easy version of winter melon soup without using meat. The flavour comes from sauteed garlic, shallots, belacan and dried prawns.
Was told that winter melon is good for the kidneys and has other nutritional and medicinal benefits [see below].
|Ash Gourd or Winter Melon|
200 gm winter melon - seeds and skin removed, cut wedges
500-600 ml water - blanched in boiling water for a few minutes - drained
salt and msg to taste
1/2 tbsp oil
Pound or blend together ingredients
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp white peppercorns - washed
1 tsp of shrimp paste [belacan]
1 tbsp dried prawns - rinsed
some spring onions - optional for garnishing
- Heat soup pot with oil. Saute pounded ingredients until aromatic.
- Add in water. Bring to a rolling boil for several minutes.
- Add in winter melon and continue to boil until winter melon turns clear and soft.
- Add in salt and msg to taste. Serve hot.
Ash-gourd is loaded with nutrients. It's an excellent source of vitamin B1 (thiamine), a good source of vitamin B3 (niacin), and vitamin C. It is also rich in many minerals like calcium. Its high potassium content makes this a good vegetable for maintaining a healthy blood pressure.
Containing almost 96% water, this gourd is a dietitian's delight. Be sure to include this vegetable in your weght-loss diet.
In Ayurveda and other traditional eastern medicine, ash-gourd is used as a general tonic for its restorative properties.
In Ayurveda, ash-gourd is also used as brain food - to treat mental illnesses and nervous disorders such as epilepsy, paranoia, and insanity.
Ash-gourd is alkaline in nature and hence has a cooling and neutralizing effect on stomach acids and as such used effectively for treating digestive ailments like hyperacidity, dyspepsia, and ulcers. Ash-gourd juice is a popular home remedy for peptic ulcers. Ash-gourd juice is also used to treat diabetes.
Ash-gourd is also useful in treating respiratory disorders like asthma, blood-related diseases, and urinary diseases like kidney stones.
Every part of this fruit is useful. Ash-gourd leaves are rubbed on bruises to heal them, while the seeds are used for expelling intestinal worms. The ash made from burning the rind and seeds are mixed with coconut oil and used to promote hair growth and to treat dandruff.
Inexpensive and versatile, ash-gourd is a healthful vegetable that should definitely be a part of any nutritious diet.