Kachri: The Wild Melon Used In North Indian Cooking; Read More
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Between the white cucumbers used in South Indian kootu to the bottle green, long ones sliced to be placed into sandwiches, the wild melon or kachri, as it is known colloquially, is an integral part of indigenous cooking in the states of Punjab, Haryana, West Bengal, Gujarat and Rajasthan. This lesser-known variety of cucumber has been a long-standing ingredient in regional cuisines and is used in a variety of applications. Known to grow wild just about anywhere – more specifically in bajra fields, it is most commonly used as a souring agent and meat tenderizer.

Although predominantly bitter in flavour, tender kachri can have a pleasant tang to it with a mellow sweetness as an aftertaste. Typically used to make condiments like pickles and chutneys, these wild melons grow in naturally fertile soil and yield during the monsoon season until the month of October. The taste of kachri also has a characteristic cucumber flavour and is entirely edible – including the seeds and skin, which is dehydrated or sun-dried and powdered to use for medicinal purposes. Rich in antioxidants, minerals, Omegas and good quality prebiotic fibre, the kachri has been an ingredient that was used in royal kitchens of the Rajputs.

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The powder derived from the dry skins of the kachri are used in kebabs, marinating mutton – making heavy meat preparations easier to digest, thus preventing gastrointestinal aches. Also known as chibad in Punjab, this foraged vegetable is known to be extremely gut-friendly, helping to eliminate bad bacteria from the body. The seeds of these wild melons are also rich in good fats and contain essential amino acids that provide nutrition to the consumer. Typical Indian preparations with kachri include kachri ki chutney, raita, khatti-meethi sabzi and a Rajasthani mutton preparation called haandi bootein. Find an easy recipe for kachri chutney below:


  • 150 grams kachri, sliced
  • 10-15 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon mustard oil
  • 4 green chillies
  • Salt, to taste


  • Add the sliced kachri, garlic and green chillies to a grinder jar and blitz to a coarse paste.
  • Season with salt and add mustard oil and grind once more to make it slightly smoother and emulsified.
  • Transfer to a bowl and add the buttermilk and mix well to combine. Serve at room temperature with bajre ki roti or dal-chawal with ghee.