I've never eaten it medicinally, but my husband and in-laws, who are Indian, all swear to how great it is for blood sugar control. I prefer to just eat it as food. :)
It is VERY bitter, a bit of an acquired taste to be quite honest, but if you can tolerate black coffee or unsweetened chocolate or goji berries (I think those are the bitter ones), you can stand this. I absolutely love it, myself. We prepare it south Indian style -- slice lengthwise, scoop out the pith and the seeds with a spoon, then slice each piece crosswise to a width of about 1/8 inch. You get a bunch of pretty bright green crescents, which you can then cook. (Being south Indian, cooking this for my relatives consists of frying the crud out of it with lots of oil, fried lentils, black mustard seeds, and other spices. No doubt there's also other ways to handle it, but I don't know them.) Mix a small amount with a mouthful of other foods to eat it. (Unless you're like me and will gladly spoon down a cup of it at a time.) Most people seem to like it best as a counterpoint to starchy/savory foods; when mixed with other intense tastes as in South Indian cooking it can make for a wonderfully complex flavor.
So yeah, I quite like it.
Edit: there are also two varieties, though I think they taste about the same. The Indian version also looks somewhat like a cucumber, but a ridiculously knobby one. Your friend was probably referring to the smooth-skinned kind.
Edited by: RENATARUNS at: 5/29/2014 (15:04)
Height 5'8 1/2"
5K 4/21/11: 31:55
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