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Momordica pedata L.
Cyclanthera pedata, locally known by its Quechua names kaywa (pronounced kai-wa, hispanicized spellings caigua, caihua, caygua, cayua) or achuqcha (also spelled achocha, achogcha, achojcha, achokcha), is a herbaceous vine grown for its edible mature fruit, which is predominantly used as a vegetable. Kaywa is known from cultivation only, and its large fruit size as compared to closely related wild species suggests that it is a fully domesticated crop. Its use goes back many centuries as evidenced by ancient phytomorphic ceramics from Peru depicting the fruits. It is also known as slipper gourd, lady's slipper, sparrow gourd (Chinese: 小雀瓜; pinyin: xiǎoquè guā), pepino in Colombia, stuffing cucumber in English, korila in the Philippines, and olochoto and kichipoktho in Bhutan.
Origin and distribution
Domesticated in the Andes and traditionally distributed from Colombia to Bolivia, the kaywa is now grown in many parts of Central America and also in parts of the Eastern Hemisphere tropics. For example, kaywa is very popular in northeastern India, Nepal and Bhutan. The Moche culture had a fascination with agriculture and displayed this in their art. The kaywa was often depicted in their ceramics.
Typically, the mature fruits are eaten cooked, raw in salads, and pickled. The kaywa has a subtle flavour similar to cucumber. The fruit has a large cavity in which the seeds develop, and this can be filled with other foods to make kaywa dishes. This may have inspired the local Spanish name pepino de rellenar ("stuffing cucumber"). The young shoots and leaves may also be eaten as greens.
- Diccionario Quechua - Español - Quechua, Academía Mayor de la Lengua Quechua, Gobierno Regional Cusco, Cusco 2005 (Quechua-Spanish dictionary) see: achoqcha
- Teofilo Laime Ajacopa, Diccionario Bilingüe Iskay simipi yuyayk'ancha, La Paz, 2007 (Quechua-Spanish dictionary)
- "Cyclanthera pedata: from the Andes to the Himalayas". Crops for the Future.
- Berrin, K. & Larco Museum (1997). The Spirit of Ancient Peru: Treasures from the Museo Arqueológico Rafael Larco Herrera. Thames and Hudson, New York.
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