Monday, September 10, 2012

Dondakaya Nuvvula Kura| Ivy Gourd with Sesame Seeds Powder

Dear Foodies,

I've written about ivy gourd being one of my favorite veggies in the past and how I'm trying to make up for all the lost opportunities to enjoy this dish. But looking at the recipes list I found just one recipe for it and was surprised they weren't more. The fast is I rarely find fresh, tender ivy gourd here and when I do I gravitate towards my mother's way of cooking them. After all the prep work to get the sliced, her recipe is quick and hits the spot. It's a wonderful side dish with chapati's or rice paired with sambar/rasam/pulusu.

More often that not, I slice them in rounds as they get really tender when cooked that way, almost melting away in your mouth. When sliced lengthwise though you get to enjoy a completely different texture of ivy gourd. It holds its shape over longer cooking times which lends to pilaf style rice dishes. Either way the prep time is probably the most time consuming part of cooking this vegetable. If you take the short-cut and buy the frozen pack instead, you'll just be wasting your time and ingredients.

Dondakaya Nuvvula Kura
Prep time: 15-20mins
Cook time: 20mins
Servings: 3-4 (side)
  • 4 cups - Ivy Gourd, washed & sliced lengthwise
  • 1 Tbsp - Oil
  • 1 tsp - Urad dal & Channa dal
  • 1/4 tsp - Mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp - Cumin seeds
  • 2 - Dried red chillies
  • 6-8  Curry leaves
  • 1/4 tsp - Turmeric Powder
  • 1/8 tsp - Asafoetida/Hing/Inguva
  • 2-4 Tbsp - Sesame powder (Nuvvula Podi)
  • Salt to taste
  • Cilantro leaves for garnish
  1. Heat oil in a wide skillet, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, urad and channa dal. When the seeds begin to pop and the dals turn a deep red, add broken red chillies, curry leaves, asafoetida and turmeric. 
  2. Add sliced ivy gourd next and sprinkle a little salt over them. Cover and steam for 8-10mins until tender, turning them over every few minutes. Sprinkle water if it the veggies look dry.
  3. Once the pieces are tender to touch, sprinkle sesame powder starting with 2 Tbsp and adding more based on taste. Mix well to incorporate the spice mix and cook covered for a few more minutes on low heat.
  4. Transfer to a serving dish with a garnish of cilantro. It goes really well as a side dish for roti's or warm rice.
Note: If you don't have pre-made sesame powder, make a quick version by toasting 1/4 cup sesame seeds, 1/4 tsp cumin seeds, 1-2 red chillies in 1 tsp oil and blend to a fine powder. -- To make the dish more special, add cashews along with the dals.  -- Adjust the amount of salt added in step 2 according to the saltiness of the sesame powder. -- The same cooking method can be used for potlakaya (snake gourd), beerakaya (ridge gourd), vankaya (eggplant) and sorakaya (bottle gourd).

I made tomato rasam and rice to complete the meal and it was a perfect Sunday lunch. Sesame powder adds a earthy flavor to the vegetable and its addictive. When I have a fresh batch of the podi I add it almost every dish I make. Its used as a staple seasoning used in many Andhra dishes and makes vegetables extra special. Fresh farm ripened tomatoes that are in season now are perfect for the rasam and you won't need any tamarind. Its good enough to have as a soup on its own and that's exactly what I did. If I stick to my plan I'll have another recipe for ivy gourd coming up next. Hope you've had a good start to your week.

16 thoughts:

Tina said...

Never tried this before..looks tempting...What a perfect clicks yaar..beautiful.

mrsfife said...

One of my favourite vegetables (in fact, it's a family joke!) Sadly what we get here are usually ripe and red :(
Nuvvu podi is always in my kitchen and I usually don't even bother with the popu! I use it with cabbage and chikkudu also.

divya said...

Slurp, yummy and finger licking fry....

Vani said...

Looks sooo good!

Sharmilee! :) said...

Looks very tempting...addition of sesame seeds is a lovely idea....beautiful clicks as usual.:))

Anu Menon said...

Dondakaya or Dondakya(in mallu) is my favourite vegetable(or should I say FRUIT ;)) in the whole wide world! In school, Mom never used to give it to me during exam times because for some reason it was considered a brain drain or something. So when she did make it on rare occasions she'd have to make tons of it :)
We usually make a fry with it, with a lot of garlic :D

Priya V said...

Tina, Do give it a try, the combination works really well.

Mrsfife, heheh! Its such a bummer when you eagerly buy veggies and half are bad :( I have never had cabbage or chikkudu with nuvvu podi. I need to make a bigger batch of nuvvu podi from now on. Does your podi recipe have garlic or tamarind in it ?

Divya, agree 100% :)

Vani, thank you!

Sharmilee, once you have the sesame powder in your pantry, it'll go into every preparation :) and I finally got to my drafts :)

Anu, same here :) I can volunteer myself to prove that no amount of bendakaya eating will alter your relationship with Math!!
I'll have to try this with garlic next time.

arundati said...

looks terrific! i usually get lazy and just sprinkle some idli podi onto it... dondakaya with curd rice is one of my fave ways to eat it

chinmayie said...

I can eat a meal like this every single day of my life and not get tired of it! Will try it next time I buy ivy gourd.

Zeenee said...

your cooking is such an inspiration to me. i've only recently begun cooking Indian vegetarian dishes at home, since my 15-month-old is really into different tastes and textures. he is a big (and tiny) fan of Indian cooking!

Priya V said...

Arundati, hehe, I like to eat curd rice with idli podi so your method is perfect for me :)

Chinmayie, totally agree with you on that one. Every time I make such a meal I wonder why I don't cook this way more often.

Zeenee, your note just made my day :) Your little one surely has an adventurous palate and a wonderful mom to cook for him. I hope you enjoy the recipes.

mrsfife said...

No tamarind or garlic in the nuvvu podi. It can also be eaten with rice and ghee. Usually I don't add salt to the stored powder, so I can change the amount I add to the kura when I make it.

hereslookingatme said...

Mom used to make this, though she used to cut it into little round discs. :)

Your recipes give me ideas for cooking new old things, if you know what I mean. I get tired of the bhindi, baingan routine.

Priya V said...

mrsfife, nuvvu podi with annam is fantastic. We always pick up a packet of palli podi and nuvvu podi from Joshi's when we can :) Good tip about the salt in the podi. Makes complete sense when using it to season curries.

Sanjana I totally get what you mean, its the same with me as well..hehe. I tend to go back to the same cooking methods for some veggies though there are many other ways to cook them. So now I've decided to try a new recipe each time.

Shanky Jindal said...

Heaven in a few simple bites

Soma said...

I do it in a Bengali way (though Bengalis don't eat it much). I add kalonji and whole dried red chili as tadka, then chopped garlic and onion. Followed by sliced tindoras, salt, turmeric and slit green chili. It tastes nice with rice and daal. Once I start my blog, I'll post the recipe.

I'll try yours soon as I LOVE ivy gourds.

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