How to cook Caigua

Cyclanthera pedata, known as kaywa or caigua

The plant Cyclanthera pedata has a lot of names: Caigua, kaywa, caihua, caygua, cayua, achuqcha, achocha, achogcha, achojcha, achokcha, archucha. It’s a herbacious vine which originally comes from the Andes (Bolivia to Columbia). You eat the fruit, but cook it like a vegetable.

Slice each fruit opem, remove the seeds, fill with whatever you fancy, and put it in the oven for a bit.

The traditional filling is minced beef, olives and rice (cook the rice before you mix the filling) with cheese on top. I didn’t have any ground beef handy, and I did have some tandoori chicken that needed eating up. So ours was tandoori chicken, courgette and boiled rice with cheese on top. We all enjoyed it.

The caigua/kaywa was a rather small part of the meal. It tastes like a cross between marrow and cucumber with a hint of something else.

I’ll probably try the traditional filling next time.

Cyclanthera pedata, known as kaywa or caigua
Cooked caigua

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