Caigua (Cyclanthera pedata)
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Momordica pedata L.
The caigua (pronounced kai-wa) is a vine grown for its small fruit, used as a vegetable. It is also known as caygua, caihua, cayua, achocha, achokcha, slipper gourd, lady’s slipper, sparrow gourd (Chinese: 小雀瓜; pinyin: xiǎoquè guā), stuffing cucumber, or korila.
Extracts from the fruit may have medicinal value.
Likely domesticated in the Andes, the caigua is now grown many parts of Central America and South America, as well as parts of the Eastern Hemisphere tropics. The Moche culture had a fascination with agriculture and displayed this in their art. Caiguas were often depicted in their ceramics.
The immature fruits may be eaten raw or pickled. Unlike many cucurbitaceous fruits, the caigua become quite hollow as it matures, and the mature fruit is often eaten stuffed. The young shoots and leaves may also be eaten as greens.