momordica cochinensis

otcayOctober 27, 2003

Anyone w/ experience or access to stock of Momordica cochinensis [Vietnamese=gac] a spiny fruit w/ brilliant crimson flesh? Thanks for any information.

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maspirasjr(zone 8)

Hi OtCay,

You know, that could be one of the mystery Vietnamese fruits/vegetables I've seen at an oriental greengrocer here. Is the fruit round like a soccer ball, looking somewhat like a canteloupe in shape (or breadfruit), roughly the same size, except that it is somewhat bumpy with small protruberances? I first thought it was a fruit, but the Vietnamese greengrocer assured me it was a vegetable. The rind was a greenish-orange/red color. I asked the Vietnamese name for it but lost the paper I wrote it on.


    Bookmark   November 7, 2003 at 9:12AM
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Hi, Marcelo
Here is a website with a photo of Momordica cochinchinensis:

Hope this is of some help,

    Bookmark   November 21, 2003 at 10:14PM
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maspirasjr(zone 8)

Hi Rose-Marie:

You're a wealth of information-thank you very much! Yes, that IS the mystery Vietnamese vegetable I saw at the Vietnamese greengrocer here in Toronto!! It looked just like the photo, except that it was a greenish orange color (probably ripe). It also seemed to be rarity-I've only seen it a few times. I guess it is very seasonal.

Well, at least we know what it is now. Thanks again!



    Bookmark   November 21, 2003 at 10:27PM
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Vietnamese use the flesh of the momordica cochinensis as a coloring and flavoring agent in steamed glutinous rice served in festivals. It gives the rice a reddish orange color and a moist, nutty taste. I'm not sure if it's used in any other cuisine.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2003 at 11:32PM
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wow, when i was growing up in vn, my father grown lot of them , they claimed all over the place from top up the tree to cover up the roof of ours house. they look pretty when the fruit turn yellow and then red, thank for the question it reminded me peaceful memories of my child hood.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2003 at 9:07AM
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discobunny(z9 La.)

I would love to get seeds for this, are they available anywhere in the States? There is an article in the Vietnam Journal, Oct 2001, about this plant, all its names in different Asian countries, and its nutritional value. The writer mentions that the seeds are prominent in the display of the "Gac soi" as it is called, to show that the red coloring of the rice is natural rather than from food coloring. I read on another web site of the flesh being used elsewhere than Vietnam, by sauteeing thin strips.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2004 at 2:54AM
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Wow, I guess this plant is related to bitter melon (Momordica charantia)?

    Bookmark   February 3, 2004 at 12:10PM
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Genie3(z10 FL)

I am in possesion of a Momordica cochinesis fruit. I am hoping someone may have a recipe for the pink rice which uses the pulp as coloring/flavoring. The plant as I understand, is dioecious, and must be hand pollinated here in S. FL (no pollinators). The fruit was grown at the Fruit & Spice park by Chris Rollins. We ( the Rare Fruit and Vegetable Council ) is part of his distribution for new introductions. I tasted the pulp (and turned my mouth and lips bright red) and found it initally bland- but it left a very pleasant pecan/hickory nut after-taste. I hope to find recipes, but otherwise will experiment with the pulp. The seeds, by the way, are really spectacular, looking like small meteorites (fllatened black discoid, with strange deep etchings all over them!). I will be attempting to propagate the plant for eventual distribution through our semi annual sales.
If anybody has a recipe, please post a follow-up

    Bookmark   February 8, 2004 at 6:27PM
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My mother has one plant in her garden in Souther California and it does need hand pollination from another plant. However if you have two plants, the birds and the bees I assume will do their part w/o the need for human intervention [well at least the bees, the birds probably just watch]. I will get the recipe from my mother as she does make the "xoi gac" [M cochinchinensis-falvored steam glutinous rice].

    Bookmark   February 11, 2004 at 12:37AM
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Genie3(z10 FL)

I will really appreciate a recipe to at least give me an idea of where to start... If I can get my seeds to produce fruit, perhaps we can exchange some seeds and increase chances of better pollination... multiple plants from diverse stocks can sometimes make incomplete or non-existent fertilization disappear, but sometimes it's simply the absence of the pollinating organism. The plant also may be dioecious (having males flowers on some plants and female on others). It's amazing how specialized some of the pollinator-pollinatee relationships are for some plants! Ain't Nature grand!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2004 at 5:40PM
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I finally went to see myparents. She gave me this recipe. Ingredients: one ripe M cochinensis; 2 bowls of glutinous rice [sweet rice]; a dash of cooking wine; brown sugar [to taste].
Soak the rice overnight in water. The following day, drain the rice. Cut the M cochinensis, remove pulp into bowl. Add cooking wine [about one table spoon] and whisk the pulp until the seeds emerge from the pulp. Mix the rice with the pulp/seed mixture thoroughly then put in a steamer. Steam rice until cooked. Add brown sugar so the rice is slightly sweet. The hot rice should melt the sugar quickly. The rice can be put into a mold to set and cool before serving.
This type of rice is used in festivities. It's quite a treat with a nutty flavor. The unique thing about "xoi gac" is that it doesn't dry out if left out. I think this is the property M cochinensis.
I'm not a cook and my mother doesn't really measure out anything so this is an estimate on her part. Wish you great success.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2004 at 1:40AM
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Genie3(z10 FL)

OtCay -
Thank you so much (and thanks to the parents). I shall try using the pulp to make the festive rice. it really sounds pretty darn good! I shall report to you my attempts and results... The seeds have not germinated yet, but I have high hopes that I shall be sucessful... If I can get the plant going and produce fruit, I shall get you some seeds.....
Thanks again

    Bookmark   March 15, 2004 at 7:38PM
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NeonCandy(QLD Aust)

Hello everyone,

I'm new here, I'm currently trying to get my little patch of Momordica Cochinchinesis to fruit but I haven't had any luck with it. The vine is currently in a pot growing in a greenhouse in Brisbane, Australia; I'll admit first up that I haven't much gardening experience.
Any feed back on how to get these plants to fruit is much appreciated. (By the way, the momordica that I've got is from Vietnam and not Australia)

    Bookmark   March 17, 2004 at 10:48PM
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NeonCandy, You may have to resort to hand pollination from another plant.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2004 at 11:33PM
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NeonCandy(QLD Aust)

I forgot to mention that the vines have no flowers yet, also if I was able to get it to flower, would I be able to self-pollinate it? I only have the one plant growing out of 5 pots, it seems to prefer to expand over a large area instead of climbing the supports that I've stuck in the pots. Thank you for your advise OtCay

    Bookmark   March 29, 2004 at 6:30PM
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Hi, wanted to add that it seems you can get the seeds for this plant from retailers of Chinese medicinal herbs. The Chinese term is Mu Bie Zi. I plan to try it out next year.

Best - exop

    Bookmark   November 5, 2004 at 9:50PM
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Exop, I hope the seeds are viable.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2004 at 12:57AM
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Can't hurt to try, many people buy whole spices from the grocery store and try to plant them and it's worked!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2004 at 3:40PM
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Yep, so do I

On the other hand, I just sprouted a whole cup of Swedish peas-for-pea-soup (from Sweden). Looks like most things which enter the country still aren't irradiated or heat-treated.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2004 at 5:20PM
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I wanted everyone to be aware that even though I have just learned about this amazing gac fruit my company has bought the world supply and made a juice out of it called G3. G3 Has:
70 times more LYCOPENE than tomatoes! - - prevent cancer and other diseases!
10 times more BETACAROTENE than carrots! - - increase immunity, improve skin, eyes; prevent cancer and disease!
40 times more ZEAXANTHANIN than yellow corn! - - eye health, prevent macular degeneration!
60 times more VITAMIN C than oranges! - - boosts immunity, improves skin, many additional benefits
LOADED with LIPOCAROTENES - healthy natural fats within the FRUIT that greatly increase absorption!

All natural stuff. It is very new, but I feel as I can be of help if anyone wants information on this "fruit from heaven" as they call it, known as Momordica Cochinensis or Gac fruit.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2005 at 2:07PM
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NeonCandy(QLD Aust)

Hello everyone :)

I've been lucky and have been able to obtain some momordica cochinchinensis seeds straight from vietnam, only problem is they were kept at room temp and then placed in a fridge for a couple of days. I would really like to get these ones to fruit someday since I gave up on the lot I had in the pots from months ago (still no flowers). Any suggestions to get them going?

Thank you :)

    Bookmark   March 7, 2005 at 7:03PM
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I've finally gotten a few seeds too, NeonCandy. They're sitting in a pot of soil w/ no sign of germination. I'm going to try and use a heating pad to see if the heat will coax them out!

    Bookmark   March 9, 2005 at 11:03PM
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Hi OtCay (hot chilli?)
Momordica cochinensis seed has thick and hard cover so it takes months or even years to germinate.
You can put them in warm water to accelerate the germination. I have couple of vines in my garden. They don't require much care. They have plenty of flowers but never produce any fruit. I very much appreciate any instruction how to hand pollinate. I am not successful sofar.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2005 at 2:10AM
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Soooo, from what chemenke said it sounds like something we should all have. I'm doubting I'd be able to grow it here in z4 WI however. I'm still unclear is it annual or perenial, how hardy do you think (I'm guessing tropical) and how big does it get. Sounds like you need 2 plants, does that mean you only get fruit from the female, or do they both produce? Is it viny or shrubby? Is it a nice plant ie. pretty, not spiny, are the flowers pretty? In other words do I want it in my house or small greenhouse?
A very interesting thread. The pink rice sounds great too.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2005 at 9:35AM
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Catrina, z4 does sound too northerly for this plant. It is a fairly large leafy vine that can overwinter the warmer climes here in Southern california but I doubt it can withstand frost. In my opinion, its size makes it too unwieldy as a indoor plant.
Vanguyen, my mother hand pollinates her vines with good results. You just have to pick the male flowers and allow it to make contact w/ the female flowers. The female flowers are distintive in which they have a prominent bulge near the calyx resembling a tiny fruit. The plant is monoecious but doesn't seem to be self-pollinating, at least here in California. Best of luck in Oz.
PS, yes, the chillis are hot!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2005 at 4:21AM
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Can anyone please let me know where to get momordica cochinensis(common name:
Spiny bitter gourd, kantola) seeds at u.s.a . I have made a wide search thro seeds companies at u.s.a but unsuccessful. My Dad used to get this vegetable when i was at india we used to fry like other bitter guord and it is very tasty infact young tender ones are very tasty for fry it is not bitter and has an excellent taste. would appreciate if anyone let me know this seeds availability. we get this variety as frozen kantola in indian stores but fresh ones are very tasty and india frozen kantola is not tender and tasty. If anyone knows about seeds availability please let me know.


    Bookmark   April 2, 2007 at 11:00PM
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Has anyone had any success growing this and getting it to fruit anywhere in the USA?

    Bookmark   April 7, 2007 at 12:16PM
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where can i find someone who sells gac fruit or the seeds? via internet or a store it dosnt matter, i would like to get my hands on that fruit.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2007 at 2:46PM
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This is the time of year that the fruit is sometimes found in Vietnamese or Asian markets, especially in southern California.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2008 at 10:36PM
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To day I received the seeds of Momordica Coch. from the merchant member who sells seeds on ebay under the name treefromseed.Those of you who are interested may buy Momordica Coch. seeds from him.He is a very reliable merchant and prices are very reasonable.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2008 at 6:11PM
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raji, you can buy the seeds on

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 6:24PM
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For seeds you can try, lot of info too....

    Bookmark   June 19, 2008 at 12:53AM
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I've got the Gac seeds in my webshop, I ship them worldwide.
kind regards,

Here is a link that might be useful: exotic seeds

    Bookmark   December 31, 2008 at 10:42AM
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Have available about 600 seeds of momordica cochinchinensis, we are a small family business growing gac fruits any inquiry is welcome about cultivation

    Bookmark   February 28, 2012 at 3:46AM
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we are a small family business growing momordica cochinchinensis together with my father in law who has 50 years experience in the matter and enquiry welcome , seeds available

    Bookmark   February 28, 2012 at 3:50AM
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