Like a warty cucumber or oversized gherkin: that’s roughly what the sopropo fruit looks like. It is also called bitter melon (bitter melon), balsam pear or paré. You may have seen it in the toko or on the market, and wondered what it actually was.
We’ll tell you all about it!
What is sopropo?
The sopropo plant originates from Asia, but is now also grown in other warm regions, such as South America and the Caribbean. The fruits are very popular in Suriname . The fruit contains a lot of fiber and vitamins C and B11.
Sopropos come from the cucumber family and are very similar in shape and color, although they sometimes resemble pickles in size. The outside often has a ‘warty’ texture, although it is sometimes smoother. The inside is white or light green. Good to know: larger fruits with a relatively smooth skin are often milder in taste.
Like the cucumber, sopropo fruits are eaten unripe . When the fruit ripens, it turns yellow or even orange. The large black seeds then turn red.
How does it taste?
You really only eat the white flesh of a sopropo fruit, which tastes a bit bitter. In principle, you eat that unripe, because as the fruit ripens, the taste becomes even more bitter. The ripe red seeds are also poisonous. In any case, it is useful to always remove the seeds.
Why all the trouble for a fruit that tastes bitter? Especially because of the structure, which is wonderfully juicy. But the fresh taste may also be there! The substance that causes the bitter taste, momordicine, can also be largely removed. You do this by placing a sopropo fruit in salt water for a few hours. This makes the fruit much tastier!
What can you do with sopropo fruits?
Sopropo is a versatile vegetable: you can cook, stew, roast, pickle , juice the fruits… The possibilities are endless! For example, choose between adding it to a dish, such as a curry, or preparing the fruit separately as a side dish.
If you want to bring out the flavor of the sopropo itself, stir-fry the fruit with some red pepper and garlic. This works well with rice and shrimp, for example. You can also add it to a Surinamese meat dish, such as this recipe for sopropo with salt meat and rice .