The Devil’s Gazpacho – Eating Kiwano, the African Horned Cucumber

kiwano gazpacho – African horned cucumber with yoghurt

Take a good look at this guy. Seriously. How scary does that look? It’s terrifying, isn’t it? Well, at least for a cucumber it is. This is a kiwano, an African horned cucumber or melon. I’m not sure why the cucumber/melon ambiguity exists, but to me, this monster tasted like a cucumber more than a melon. I don’t know much about this fruit, and I am currently too exhausted and not overly keen to trawl the web to find out too much information, mainly because the culinary possibilities of the kiwano seem somewhat limited. It’s basically a bunch of liquidy seeds that taste like a citrusy cucumber.

sliced kiwano

I bought two kiwanos from the Bellingen market this weekend. For twenty cents each, this is probably the cheapest exotic fruit I’ve ever bought. Let me describe it to you.  The kiwano is about the size of the palm of my hand, which is a biggish hand. The thorny bits are vicious, not decorative. It seems the kiwano was evolving into a land mammal at some stage and needed hedgehog-like protection, and during it’s evolution, it changed its mind and remained a fruit, but kept the thorns for style and comfort. Slicing into a kiwano is easy. The “wall” which protects the seeds is on the thick side, and as far as I know, is not delectablely edible. The seeds are akin to large cucumber seeds, encased by a liquidy membrane. The flavour is similar to that of a cucumber, only with a strong citrus profile. With the heat of Sydney today, a cooling gazpacho-like soup seemed in order. Now, I am aware that gazpacho doesn’t have yoghurt, and that it should contain vinegar, and the other 1000 rules that go with it, but hey, it just sounds better than saying chilled cucumber soup, so please allow me this one.  I threw this gazpacho together in a few minutes and it was great. The balance of flavours is completely within your control, so add more or less of any of the ingredients below. No lemon juice is needed because the kiwano is acidic enough. Have you ever seen a kiwano, and what do you think of it?

kiwano at the Bellingen markets

The Devil’s Gazpacho – Kiwano Recipe


  • 1 Kiwano, seeds and liquid only
  • 250 ml plain yoghurt
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • 1/4 spanish onion, sliced
  • 1/2 bird’s eye chili
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • good pinch of salt
  • small handful of mint


  • put aside 3 tbsp kiwano seeds for garnish
  • put all other ingredients  in blender and blend until smooth
  • strain, store in the fridge until very cold.
  • put the gazpacho in a freezer for 20 minutes before serving
  • serve in small shot glasses with a bit of olive oil and the reserved kiwano seeds as garnish


  • Sounds good Fouad! I am going to look for that devil here, just to see what it tastes like.

  • Gourmantic says:

    Quite a novel idea to make a gazpacho out of it! From a distance they look like prickly pears. I’ve never seen them but will keep an eye out.

  • Sara says:

    What a funky little fruit, or not so little as the case may be. The “gazpacho” would have been very cooling wiht our weather at the moment. What a great find to play with.

  • Fouad says:

    Joumana – tell me how you like it if you find it
    Gourmantic – It looks like a sea cucumber more than a prickly pear. it’s a crazy little fruit
    Sara – it was great fun 🙂

  • Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by thefoodblog: [new blog post] the devil’s gazpacho. check out the scary, horned African cucumber:

  • Cindy says:

    Interesting fruit!

  • Stella says:

    Hey Fouad, have you ever heard that song ‘Kifak Souad’? It’s ringing in my head now but with Fouad instead of Souad (smile)!
    Anyway, I always see this horned cucumber at the market. I never get it b/c I didn’t know what to do with it. I won’t be afraid of it next time. Thanks

  • Fouad says:

    Cindy – it is
    Stella – Haven’t heard the song, though I suspect it would be kifik Souad (Souad being a girl’s name). Is it a good song? Try the kiwano, it’s a cool cucumber 🙂

  • I love all the uncommon ingredients you use. Your blog and photos look great.

  • Angela says:

    How interesting! I wonder where I can find those interesting cucumbers?
    .-= Angela´s last blog ..The Beer Holster =-.

  • Fouad says:

    Hi Nisrine – thanks for your comment and I’m glad you are enoying the blog

    Hi Angela – I found these at a farmer’s market in Bellingen NSW. Not sure where you live, but farmer’s markets are usually a good place for interesting produce

  • liz@zested says:

    I’m in Africa yet have never seen one of these beasties. Too bad they don’t seem to taste as cool as they look.

  • don says:

    i was clearing my old cucumber vines and almost ripped my hand off,i gingerly pulled the vines apart and found seven of these very sharp and prickly fruit,a mate told me what they were,now i have read your info on them i will try them,
    i have no idea where they came from,all my other cucumbers were normal,bunnings must have had a blow in on their punnets.
    thank you for the info.

  • […] Rough and yellow on the outside, green and seeded on the inside, these fruits are sure to frighten some. However, they’re about as terrifying as a small child in a monster costume on Halloween–we promise. High in vitamin C and fiber, a blowfish fruit is actually an African horned cucumber, and it actually does taste like a cucumber, according to some people.  Others compare it to zucchinis, bananas, and lemons — but you won’t uncover this nutritious mystery until you give it a try! […]

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge