May 7, 2013

Kovakkai Poriyal (Tindora / Ivy Gourd Stir Fry)

I know what you're thinking - a whole post on Ivy Gourd? Yes, this little humble vegetable needs its 5 mins of fame. And I'm giving it to her (anything awesome can only be a 'she' :) )

This little powerhouse of a vegetable has a ton of nutritional benefits even though its not widely advertised. Known as Kovakkai in Tamil and Tindora in Hindi, this is a common but usually considered boring vegetable served with a traditional Indian meal. You've heard of Ladies Finger right?  Did you know that this featured veggie is sometimes referred to as - Gentleman's toes?? I was imagining myself walking up to a local grocer in India and asking for some ladies fingers and gentleman's toes. Oh the looks that might get me. 

Ivy Gourd has an enzyme in it that helps regulate blood sugars. Hence this is a good addition to a diabetic meal plan. Its usually just cooked up blah with not much flavor and most of the time that's what makes it boring. But anything that is boring needs to be turned upside down on its butt and made interesting, right? That's what I've tried to do here. This has become the only way we eat this veggie now. I can cook it and just eat an entire cup of it for dinner - very satisfying. And the fresh curry masala adds all the goodness of lentils to the nutrition of the vegetable.

Clean the kovakkai and chop off the top and bottom ends.

Cut the veggie into small rounds or slice them vertically into thin slices. I usually prefer the thin slices - but hey, when someone else helps you by cutting the veggies, you don't complain.

In a dry pan, add the following -

Coriander Seeds - 1/4 cup
Channa Daal - 1/2 cup
Urad Daal - 1 tbsp
Dried Red chillies - 2 -3 pieces
Whole Black Pepper - 4-5 kernals

Dry roast all the ingredients till the aroma wafts out and they seem roasted. Cool down for a few mins.

Grind the masala in a small mixer until you get a coarse powder.

In a wide pan, add 2 tsps of oil and when hot add the following -

Black mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Urad Daal - 1 tsp
Channa Daal - 1 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp

When all the above sizzles in the oil, add the cut veggies and mix well. Add salt to taste along with a pinch of turmeric powder. Cover and cook for about 5 mins till the veggie turns a little soft and cooks inside. Add 2-3 tsps of the freshly ground masala to this and mix well. Cook for a few mins until done. Don't overcook - a little crispness is still desired and make the end product really tasty.

The fresh ground masala can be done in bulk and stored in a dry glass jar. Feel free to add heaped spoons of this to almost any veggie you cook. All it does is enhance the flavor and add a ton of taste - we can all use that anytime!

Enjoy the tasty and flavorful kovakkai. Serve hot with rice and Rasam or Chappathis.

Enjoy. Peace Out.

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