spiny gourd (Thumba Karawila) or Kantola

Know about the many health benefits of the spiny gourd (Thumba Karawila) or Kantola

The spiky skin of this green vegetable makes it naturally unattractive. However, it is not just healthy but also low in calories. The spiny gourd is a species of flowering plants in the gourd family and is used as veggie in Asian countries. This veggie is cooked with spices or even fried, and sometimes eaten as a salad.

Here are some health benefits of the vegetable:

  • As it is a seasonal veggie, it is helpful in preventing cough, cold and other allergies.
  • It also reduces blood sugar levels in diabetic patients since it is rich in insulin.
  • This is a good source of vitamin C, a natural antioxidant, and it takes out toxic free radicals from the body, reducing the chance of cancer.
  • It has anti-ageing properties, and it helps to keep the skin healthy.
  • It is high in fibre and antioxidants and thus very useful for easy digestion.

Try this Spiny Gourd / Thumba Kariwila Stir-fry at home. It will be a delicious side dish for your lunch. Here is the recipe for Spiny Gourd / Thumba Karawila Stir-fry Stir fry. I hope you will enjoy it.

Ingredients: (for 4-5 servings)

  • 400g Spiny Gourd (Thumba Kariwila)
  • 2 medium Onions
  • 2 medium-size tomatoes
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp unroasted curry powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1½  tsp Chili powder
  • ½  tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 3-4 sprigs of Curry Leaves
  • Pandan leaf
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 3-4 tamarind seeds
  • Salt to taste
  • Cooking  Oil


  1. First, wash the veggie, remove the ends & roughly cut spiny gourd.
  2. Then, slice the onions and chop tomatoes.
  3. Heat a pan with oil and add mustard seeds.
  4. Once the mustard seeds start to splutter, add in the onions and sauté until they are golden in colour.
  5. Then, add in the chopped tomato and mix well. Fry the tomatoes until they are tender.
  6. Now its time to add in the turmeric powder, curry powder & chilli powder.
  7. After a few seconds, add in the fenugreek seeds and tamarind.
  8. Next, add in the spiny gourd (thumba Kariwila) and stir well.  
  9. Then, cover and cook until the veggie is tender and soft. This will take about 5-7 minutes.
  10. Finally, add in salt as per your taste, cumin seeds, curry leaves and Pandan leaf and cook for another minute.
  11. Serve alongside your meal & enjoy!

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