Tinda/Apple Gourd

This coming week will be sort of busy for me as I will be keeping my friend’s dog. He seems to love it here at my house, but since he’s now elderly and (just like old people) has lost a lot of his hearing and the vision in one eye, requires a little more care than he used to. Luckily, he’s been here often enough that he finds his way around just fine.
This past week, when I was leaving my local HEB, I noticed a different type of melon than I was used to seeing. It was close to the watermelons, but much closer to the decorative gourds. Of course, I had to stop and see what they were! The name of them turned out to be Apple gourd, so after thinking about it for a few days, I decided that they would be good copy for this week’s column. After typing “apple gourd” into my search line, I learned a few facts.
This is a small vegetable that appears to be a cross between a (very) large green apple and a pumpkin. The skin coloration is very similar to the small seedless watermelons that are available practically year ‘round, but the shape is looks as if it is actually an apple. Some of the ones pictured in the article were actually the size of a green apple, but the ones here in the store look to weigh about one to two pounds or maybe more.
According to the article, the taste, texture and seeds mostly resemble squash and it’s also called Tinda, in fact everywhere the name appears in the article it is Tinda/apple gourd. The following information that I gleaned in this article is below. I am quoting it as it appears.
“Tinda has a lot of health benefits to offer – read them below—

  1. Tinda/apple gourd has anti-bacterial properties.
  2. Tinda/apple gourd helps in maintaining digestive health by getting rid of gastric issues and constipation.
  3. Tinda/apple gourd helps in weight loss as it is 94% water.
  4. Antioxident properties of Tinda/apple gourd helps control blood pressure.
  5. Tinda/apple gourd leaves also help in controlling blood pressure.
  6. Tinda/apple gourd prevents cancer as it protects from free radicals which cause cancer.
  7. Tinda/apple gourd makes hair healthy and shiny.”
    They are also called Indian squash, round melon, Indian round gourd, apple gourd or Indian baby pumpkin.
    The recipes are mostly Indian in origin, being a variety of different types of curry dishes. They all seem to be long and involved and the ingredients are not listed separately as is usual with recipes. The apple gourds must not be too difficult to grow as there is lots of information and several places to order seeds listed if you desire to grow them yourselves. There are also lots of pictures of them decorated in various ways to use the gourds for decorating purposes, as well as pictures of them as bird houses, scoops and other items.
    Dee’s Chicken and Ro-tel® tomatoes
    Read instructions before beginning!
    1 whole chicken cut into serving size pieces
    ½ to 1 cup cooking oil (for frying chicken pieces)
    1 onion, chopped
    1 bell pepper, chopped
    1 Tbs. sugar
    Cajun seasoning
    Salt and pepper
    1 can Rotel® tomatoes with green chilies
    ½ to 1 can tomato sauce (8-oz can)
    1 can diced tomatoes, (large can)
    1 can sliced mushrooms
    ½ to 1 cup water
    Skin chicken and season on all sides with Cajun seasoning. Heat oil in heavy skillet and fry chicken until nicely browned; remove from pan and set aside. In same skillet, sauté onions and bell pepper; drain off excess oil and add tomatoes, tomato sauce, water and mushrooms. Add chicken to sauce; stir and add sugar and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; lower heat and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes or until chicken is done, and serve over white rice.
    The late Mrs. Bess Polk, who was in an Assisted Living home in Victoria at the time, sent me this Chicken and Rice Casserole which had appeared in her daily paper, The Victoria Advocate. About two weeks after she sent hers to me, a similar one appeared in the San Antonio paper, and it uses regular rice. I have made this many times and everyone seems to love it. The cream of onion soup was not available for a very long time, but I was able to find it again at a new Brookshire Brothers that is now in Cuero.
    Fiesta Chicken and Rice Bake
    1 can cream of chicken soup or cream of onion soup
    1 cup chunky salsa or picante sauce
    ½ cup water
    1 cup whole-kernel corn, drained (buffet size can, or I just used a well drained 15 oz can)
    ¾ cup regular long-grained white rice (uncooked)
    4 boneless chicken breast halves*
    ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
    Preheat oven to 375ºF Mix soup, salsa, water, corn and rice in 2-quart shallow casserole or baking dish. Top with the chicken and sprinkle with paprika. Cover with lid or foil. Bake about 45 to 55 minutes, or until the rice has soaked up all the liquid and the chicken is cooked through. Uncover, sprinkle with cheese and put back in the oven for a minute or so, until the cheese melts. *I use cut-up chicken or leg/thigh quarters instead of breasts, and I use 6-8 thighs and it works very well.
    If you want to double the recipe, use: 2 cans soup, 2 cups salsa, 1 cup water, 15-oz can corn, 1½ cups rice (uncooked), 12 to 15 pieces chicken, and to do this you will probably need larger pan.