Mahanandi

Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Black Pepper~Turai Chutney

బీరకాయ మిరియాల పచ్చడి

Shallot, Turai, Black Pepper
Shallot, Turai and Black Peppercorn

If there is a turai fan club, I would be a card-carrying member. I would go to farmers markets to demonstrate turai dishes and to dispense turai seeds to the interested. I enjoy this vegetable that much.:) Recently I came across a new chutney recipe with turai, and I tried it today for our meal. Sweet turai and fiery peppercorn, it’s a good combination. A must try for fellow turai fans, I recommend.

Black Pepper ~Turai Chutney:
(makes about a cup and half)

1 Turai (ridge gourd, బీరకాయ)
2 shallots (erra gadda)
½ teaspoon black peppercorn (*Hot*)
1-tablespoon tamarind pulp
½ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon salt
1-teaspoon oil

1. Add tamarind pulp to two tablespoons of water. This will soften the tamarind and helps to blend well. Peel the ridges, wash turai, and cut to big chunks (about two cups). Peel the skin and chop shallots to big pieces (about half cup).

2. Heat a cast iron skillet. Add and heat oil to smoking point. Add black pepper and cumin. Fry for few seconds. Add the shallots and ridge gourd pieces. Sauté to tender for about five minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the contents to reach room temperature.

3. Take them all in a mixer or mortar. Add salt, tamarind pulp and the water it was soaked in. Mix once. Blend to coarse consistency. Remove to a cup and serve. Good to mix with rice, or as a spread on chapati/roti/bread.

Turai- Black Pepper chutney
Turai Pepper Chutney ~ for Meal Today


Recipe adapted from:
Paajaka. Thanks Mythreyee for this tasty turai recipe idea.
Reduce peppercorn to quarter teaspoon if you prefer mild hot level.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Beera kaaya(Ridge Gourd), Peppercorn (Wednesday May 7, 2008 at 6:14 pm- permalink)
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Ragi Kudumulu with Garlic Ghee

Ragi kudumulu is an old classic from Andhra Pradesh, India. Dumplings like kudumulu are prepared with ragi flour and steam-cooked in flavorful kura (curry). The main ingredient of kura in which ragi kudumulu are steamed changes with the seasons. Sometimes the kura is prepared with vegetables, sometimes with meat or a combination. Depends on the cook’s mood and the market prices. Popular in agricultural community, this protein powerhouse is a build or nourish the muscle-on-the-bone kind of one-pot meal.

For Mathy’s Jihva, I have been thinking about a new recipe using garlic-ghee. Then I thought, why not incorporate garlic-ghee into ragi dough and make kudumulu with it. When people say developing new things or techniques is like constantly rediscovering the wheel, it’s very true, indeed. Years of nutritional strategies and accumulated wisdom among cooks throughout the world before us are right to benefit us all through good times and hard times.

Ragi kudumulu is one such nutritional strategy, and here it is in a new avatar. An acquired taste, but a delight to an adventurous palate. Give it a try.

Ridge gourd and Ragi Dough
Ridge Gourd and Ragi Dough (Beerakaya mariyu Raagi Mudda)

Recipe:
(for two adults, for two meals)

Recipe happens in three steps. 1. Prepare Ragi dough for Kudumulu.
2. Prepare kura (curry or kurma) for Kudumulu. 3. Prepare kudumulu and steam-cook.

Step 1:

Take one-cup ragi flour in a bowl. Add a tablespoon of garlic-ghee puree and quarter teaspoon salt. Stir in a tablespoon of garlic infused ghee. Sprinkling few tablespoons of hot water, make soft dough. Cover and keep it aside for about 15 to 30 minutes. The dough firms up on resting.

Step 2:

While the ragi dough is resting, prepare kura for ragi kudumulu. It can be with either vegetables, (traditional choice: Indian broad beans, silk squash and ridge gourd), or meat (chicken or mutton). For my meal today, I have prepared Ridge gourd curry (beerakaya kura) for ragi kudumulu.

- - 2 ridge gourds: peel, rinse and cut into ½ inch, big pieces
- - 2 tomatoes and one onion - finely chop to small pieces

Heat a tablespoon of garlic infused ghee in a wide, deep-bottomed skillet. Add and toast a pinch each - cumin and mustard seeds. When seeds start to pop, add the onion. Sauté to soft. Then tomatoes. Add about a cup of water and cook the tomatoes to mush on high heat.

While tomatoes are cooking, prepare the kura masala:
For kura masala: Two tablespoons of grated coconut, 4 green chillies and an inch of peeled ginger, two cloves, one inch cinnamon, a teaspoon each - coriander seeds and cumin. Take them all in a mixer. Add a pinch of salt. Blend to fine consistency.

Tomatoes will be cooked to soft by now. Mush them by pressing with a sturdy spoon. Add the ridge gourd pieces and the masala paste to the skillet. Also half teaspoon each- turmeric and salt. Stir in another cup of water. Close the lid and simmer on medium-low heat.

Step 3:

While kura is cooking, quickly prepare Ragi kudumulu.

Take the ragi dough out onto a plate. Knead and divide into small, about key lime-sized rounds. The dough came about 16 rounds for me. Take a round on your palm, and close the fingers around the round to make a fist. The shape changes to cylindrical with conical ends. That’s what we call “Kudumu” shape in Telugu. Compared to the round shape, the kudumu shape will have more surface area exposed, and that would facilitates thorough steaming. Prepare all rounds in this way. You have to make them fast in two to three minutes.

Place them one after another neatly in simmering kura. Close the lid tightly, and steam for about 15 to 20 minutes on medium-low heat. Ragi kudumulu have to be cooked properly inside. To test, take one out and cut into half. A well-steamed one has the color of red soil (erra mannu) that you see in moderate rainfall areas like Telengana, Andhra Pradesh. On taste, they should have the comforting texture of a well-chewed bubblegum.:) Sticky with unique ragi flavor. The size/volume also increases on steaming.

Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and lime juice. Serve hot. Until serving time, cover the skillet with tight lid and keep the kura hot on low heat.

How to serve: Place four ragi kudumulu in a wide bowl or plate along with vegetable or meat pieces. Pour the tomato-masala gravy around.

How to eat: With fingers or spoon, take a portion of ragi kudumu with kura. Blow to cool for once or twice. Eat. Ragi flour has gummy properties and it would stick to the mouth roof. So don’t chew on the kudumu, just swallow. The masala gravy and vegetables or meat pieces, together they make a memorable meal experience.

Why: Ragi is rich in Iron, minerals and protein, gluten-free, and is known for it’s health benefits. Ragi is cultivated from ancient times in many parts of India, and in fact the name Ragi is a Sanskrit word. So, Ragi consumption means nourishment to the body and also nourishing the traditional agricultural practices.

Here is the preparation process in photos:


Ragi Kudumulu and Ragi Dough


Steamed Ragi Kudumulu in Ridge Gourd Kura


Ragi Kudumulu Flavored with Garlic Ghee in Ridge Gourd Kura ~
Meal today and My Contribution to Mathy’s Garlic-Jihva Event.

Notes:
Ragi flour is available in most Indian grocery shops.
Kudumu is singular and kudumulu is plural in Telugu language.
Traditional Kudumulu from other parts of Bharath:
Jonna (Corn) Kudumulu from En Ulagam
Jowar-wheat Kudumulu from My Food Court

Do you have this type of tradition where kudumulu or dumplings are steam-cooked in the stew itself?

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Ragi, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Beera kaaya(Ridge Gourd), Ragi Flour, Ghee, Garlic (Vellulli) (Tuesday April 1, 2008 at 5:45 pm- permalink)
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Fresh Tuvar and Turai ~ for Jihva

If you are a follower of my website, then you must be getting a vague sensation of being stalked with toor dal.:) My love for toor dal knows no boundaries and I tend to go little overboard on Mahanandi, when it comes to toor dal.

Looks like I have a company now.

Meet Linda, the fabulous food blogger from Michigan. Like me, Linda finds it impossible to resist the tantric tunes of tuvar.:) She is featuring, of all the ingredients in the world, the “Toor Dal” for Jihva December. And, on her latest post, she has written…

“Day and night, I couldn’t stop thinking about toor dal — ’till one morning I found myself wanting to toss some toor dal into a bowl of cottage cheese and sprinkle some sambhar powder, just to see how that would taste. I may be slightly obsessed.:)”

You are my toor dal dosth, dear Linda. :)

Here is another one for you. A curry with fresh tuvar and turai. Two fine Indian ingredients and one delightful dish. Perfect for chapatis, and for Jihva.

Fresh Tuvar (Toor Dal, Kandulu)
Fresh Tuvar (pacchi kandulu)

Recipe:

1 tablespoon peanut oil
Pinch each - cumin and mustard seeds, and a sprig of curry leaves
¼ cup - finely sliced onion or shallot (Erra gadda)
1 cup - fresh tuvar (Pacchi Kandulu)
2 cups - finely cut turai (ridge gourd or beerakaya)
2 tablespoons - fresh coconut, grated
1 teaspoon - finely ground green chilli
¼ teaspoon or to taste, - salt and turmeric

In a wide skillet, heat oil until a curry leaf tossed in it sizzles.
Add and toast curry leaves, cumin and mustard seeds.
Wait for the mustard seeds to splutter and then add onions and fresh tuvar.
Frequently stirring, saute them to tender.
Add the turai pieces. Sprinkle the coconut, green chilli, salt and turmeric.
Mix and cook covered for about 5-10 minutes, on medium-high, until the water leaked from turai evaporates. Serve hot with chapatis.

Tuvar and Turai Curry with Chapatis
Tuvar and Turai Subji with Chapatis, Gulab Jamun and Coconut Water ~ for Jihva-Toor Dal

Notes:
Fresh Tuvar beans (frozen) are available at Indian grocery shops. 12 oz packets, priced at 2 or 3 dollars. Check the refrigerated section.
Turai or ridge gourd, and fresh coconut are available at Indian and also at Chinese grocery.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Beera kaaya(Ridge Gourd), Jihva For Ingredients, Fresh Tuvar (Kandulu) (Monday December 3, 2007 at 9:28 pm- permalink)
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Beerakaya Bajji (Turai Bajji)

Beerakaya Bajji (Turai Bajji)

Beerakaya (turai or ridge gourd if you prefer) is among my all-time favorite vegetables, so when it is in season I like to incorporate it into all sorts of dishes.

In this traditional bajji recipe, coated with thick besan batter and deep fried, delicate beerakaya slices take on a luscious, sponge-like character. The ajwan (carom seeds) and cumin addition to the besan batter bring a special aroma to the beerakaya bajji, making them absolutely the best.

Beerakaya, Turai, Ridge Gourd
Beerakaya (Turai, Dodka, Ridge Gourd)

Recipe:
(for two, makes about 20 bajjis)

Prepare the Beerakaya:
Pick an arm-length, young and fresh looking beerakaya (turai, ridge gourd)
Scrape the protruded ridges with a peeler. Wash and slice the beerakaya into thin rounds, using a mandoline.

Prepare the Besan Batter:
In a big bowl, take one-cup besan, quarter-cup rice flour. Add ½ teaspoon each - ajwan, cumin and salt. Also ¼ teaspoon each - chilli powder and baking soda. Mix. Adding half-cup water, whisk together all the ingredients, until well-combined and smooth. (Prepare the batter thick like condensed milk.)

Bajji Time:
In a deep-bottomed kadai or wok, add about 2-cups peanut oil. On medium-high, heat the oil suitable to deep-frying. Once the oil is hot and ready, begin frying. Dip the beerakaya rounds, one by one into besan batter so that they are generously coated. Gently drop in as many pieces as will float freely in the oil. Do not crowd. Fry both sides to gold color and remove the pieces with a slotted spoon and transfer them to a paper-covered plate. Serve hot with chutney or ketchup and with a cup of coffee.

Beerakaya Bajji (Turai Bajji)
Beerakaya Bajji and Jilebi ~ warming up on a Crisp Autumn Day

Also see:
Monsoon Magic~Turai (Dodka) Bhajji : from Madhuli’s My Food Court

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Beera kaaya(Ridge Gourd), Gram Flour (Besan) (Friday September 7, 2007 at 2:35 pm- permalink)
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Beerakaya~Pesara Pappu Kootu

Ridge gourd and Moong Dal :

I see the world around me. There is a deep tantric style worship of all-purpose flour and its endless avatars. All-purpose flour, butter, eggs and sugar: the central content is the same but by just changing the vessel and the decorations, several different avatars are possible. Like the prayers to the Gods, the all-purpose flour mantram resonates like this: cakes… yum, cookies… yum, cupcakes… yum, muffins… yum, bread… yum, biscotti… yum, pizzas, pies, scones… yum … yum … yum … the mantram goes on. The sugar bliss and the atma content follow… yum!

I am amazed by this boundless fascination all-purpose flour attracts. The Maya intensity of all-purpose flour is so great that each of its avatars is perceived as its own creation. I too use the flour mantram, but the avatars are limited to chapati… yum, puri… yum, paratha… yum. I’m just talking out loud.

Anyway, cakes and cookies could be divinely delicious, but vegetables are what inspire me to cook and write. Vegetables keep me happy in a world which is insanely flour-sugar coated. So here it is, another sane vegetable recipe from an all-purpose flour atheist. A hearty, dense, satisfying dal recipe with ridge gourd and moong dal, called Kootu.

Attempt this kootu recipe only when you have asafetida in your kitchen. Because the tiny amount of asafetida is what makes the recipe come alive. Onions and garlic are a big no but potatoes are a must. Ridge gourd, drumsticks and brinjal separately or together in combination are added to cooked, watery moong dal. And the whole thing gets simmered until a thick, honey like consistency is achieved. This is a good dal recipe for people who have low tolerance levels for onions and garlic, and also during early pregnancy times. Mild and soothing, this moong dal Kootu is a favorite for moong fans like me.


Ridge gourd, Red Potato, Lime and Yellow Moong Dal ~ Ingredients for Pesara pappu Kootu

Recipe:

Step 1: 1 cup yellow moong dal - Roast the yellow moong dal to pale red color in an iron skillet. Take the roasted dal in a pressure-cooker, add about 4 cups of water and pressure-cook to soft. Then, lightly mash the dal to smooth consistency.

Meanwhile blend six green chillies, two tablespoons of grated fresh coconut and a pinch of salt to smooth paste.

Step 2: In a saucepan - add a teaspoon of oil. Add and saute two cups of cubed potatoes first. Once the potatoes are half cooked, add 2 cups of finely chopped ridge gourd pieces and saute to tender. (3 potatoes and 1 ridge gourd.)

To the vegetables, add the mashed moong dal, green chilli-coconut paste, ½ tsp each -turmeric and salt, plus a quarter cup of lime/lemon juice, along with two cups of water. Mix, have a taste and adjust the spice, salt to your liking. Simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes.

Step 3: In the end, do the popu or tadka. Add and toast few curry leaves, dried red chilli pieces, cumin and mustard seeds and quarter teaspoon of asafetida in an iron skillet in a small amount of oil or ghee. Add the toasted contents to simmering dal. Mix and serve hot with chapatis. A state of bliss will surely follow.


Beerakaya Pesara Pappu Kootu ~ for a Light Meal

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Beera kaaya(Ridge Gourd), Moong Dal (Washed) (Wednesday August 29, 2007 at 10:19 pm- permalink)
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Vegetarian Congee with Rosematta and Yuba

I’ve been experimenting different recipes with Rosematta rice (the terracotta colored rice variety from Kerala, India).

In addition to the traditional steam-cooked Rosematta rice, I’ve made Rosematta pongal and Rosematta idly so far. Everything turned out excellent. Rosematta truly brings wholesome and wholegrain rosy goodness to a meal. The Chocolate Lady seems to agree with me. Check out her Rosematta rice and cashew matar meal combination.

One another recipe I wanted to try with Rosematta is vegetarian congee. Congee or ganji is little amount of rice simmered in large quantities of water to a creamy porridge. At its most fundamental, congee is rice water, flavored with buttermilk or coconut milk, chilli and salt. For today’s meal I dressed up the Rosematta congee with vegetables and Yuba (The thick cream that forms on the top of simmering soy milk is removed in layers, sun-dried and rolled into sheets). Add few pieces, the yuba will soak up the saaram, become soft and taste like milk meegada. A neat protein delicacy popularized by Buddhist monks, I gathered.

Sometimes you have to spend hours in the kitchen to make a remarkable meal. Sometimes it becomes effortless, today is one such day. Rosematta and yuba together made a hearty vegetarian congee. We loved our soothing, simple supper.

Broken Rosematta Rice and Yuba
Coarsely Milled Rosematta Rice Grains and Yuba (Soymilk Meegada, Bean Curd Sticks)

Recipe:

1 cup - coarsely milled (broken) Rosematta rice
½ cup yuba (bean curd sticks, broken to one-inch length pieces)
½ cup each - cut pieces of carrot and ridge gourd (turai, beerakaya)
6 cups water and 1 cup milk.
1 teaspoon peanut oil or ghee
Seasoning:
6 fresh curry leaves
1 tablespoon ginger juice (Grate or crush the ginger & squeeze.)
1 teaspoon - coarsely crushed black pepper
½ teaspoon salt or to taste

In a big pot, heat ghee or oil.
Add and saute curry leaves, black pepper, carrot and ridge gourd pieces 2mts.
Add the yuba, Rosematta rice, water and milk.
Stir in salt and ginger juice.
Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes.
When the congee becomes thick and creamy, turn off the heat.
Serve warm. Tastes great with pickle.


Vegetarian Congee with Rosematta and Yuba ~ Our Meal Today

Notes:
Homemade Yuba ~ Recipe
Rosematta rice ~ Broken variety purchased at Apna Bazar, Bellevue
Yuba (Bean Curd Sticks) at Uwajimaya or also at Chinese grocery.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Biyyamu (Rice), Soy (Tofu, Yuba), Beera kaaya(Ridge Gourd), Rosematta Rice (Wednesday July 18, 2007 at 9:23 pm- permalink)
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Beerakaya Gasala Kura

Ridge Gourd in Poppy Seed Sauce:


Poppy Seeds (Gasa Gasalu, Khus Khus)

The tiny, cream colored poppy seeds are a must have thing in many Indian kitchens. In Andhra, in addition to sesame and peanuts, poppy seeds are also used extensively both in sweets and in savory preparations. When added to sweets like payasam, bhakshalu and to laddus etc, they offer a nice, nutty texture and crunchy contrast.

When it comes to savory - poppy seeds are lightly toasted first and ground to prepare creamy sauces for curries. Nut like, with a subtle, soothing flavor and rich taste, it’s impossible not to like poppy seed sauce. Plus it’s low calorie when compared to nut based sauces.

Both vegetables and meat are cooked in spice flavored poppy seed sauce. The most popular being, ridge gourd (beerakaya), green brinjal (Poluru Vankaya) , potato and chicken. My mother prepares a terrific ridge gourd curry in poppy seed sauce called “Beerakaya Gasala Kura”. Here is my mother’s recipe.


………..Poppy Seed Powder Shaped to Round Ball ………………….Ridge Gourd……………..

Recipe:

2 fresh, firm looking ridge gourds
Peel the outer ridges and the skin lightly. Wash, and remove both ends. Cut ridge gourd to small, bite sized pieces. - about 5 cups.

For Poppy Seed Paste:
¼ cup poppy seeds - in a hot skillet, toast them lightly. Remove to a spice grinder. Grind to smooth without adding water. (It takes at least 5 minutes to grind poppy seeds to fine consistency like shown in the above photo.)

Seasoning:
4 green chillies, one garlic clove and one teaspoon of grated ginger - Grind them to smooth in a mortar or in a blender.
¼ tsp each - salt and turmeric
¼ tsp each - cumin, mustard seeds and few curry leaves.

In a wide skillet, heat a teaspoon of peanut oil. Add and toast curry leaves, cumin and mustard seeds. When they start to splutter, add ridge gourd pieces. Stir in the poppy seed powder along with green chilli-garlic-ginger paste, salt and turmeric. Add about quarter cup of water. Mix thoroughly. Cover the pot and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes on medium-high heat, stirring in-between. Ridge gourd cooks fast and when the sauce starts to thicken, turns off the heat. Serve warm with sorghum roti or with chapati.

Apply same method, but replace ridge gourd with banana pepper/ brinjal /potato/chicken to cook terrific tasting poppy seed based curries.


Beerakaya Gasala Kura with Ragi Roti ~ Our Meal Today and My Entry to RCI~Andhra Event

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Beera kaaya(Ridge Gourd), Poppy Seeds (Tuesday May 22, 2007 at 7:38 pm- permalink)
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Turai-Suwa (Ridge Gourd-Dill) Curry

Fresh Dill (Suwa)
Fresh Dill (Suwa) for JFI-WBB ~ Greens

I think culinary knowledge is two types - “Knowledge of” and “Knowledge how”. “Knowledge of” is what psychologists call declarative knowledge - knowledge of facts and rules. It is easy to parrot nutritional information and gave instructions like add this much at this step in the recipe. Difficult to write down and explain is “knowledge how”, the procedural knowledge. It is acquired through practice, by observation and internalization. The suitable amount and how much is too much, when to add - this kind of knowledge is what makes people like my mother and mother-in-law extraordinary cooks, in my view.

In the pursuit of gaining some “knowledge how” I used the “knowledge of” a recipe I got from Dilipji. I tried to recreate the dish with little touches here and there, and the end result turned out to be remarkable. The springtime green herb, the soothing dill worked well with tender ridge gourd. And coarsely ground soy nuggets addition gave the dish little bit body. Assembled between two slices of bread, ridge gourd-dill curry tasted quite good.


Ridge Gourd, Fresh Dill and Coarsely Ground Soy Nuggets

Recipe:

3 ridge gourds - peeled, washed and cut to bite sized pieces
1 small bunch of fresh dill - washed and finely chopped - about ¼ cup
¼ cup coarsely ground soy nuggets
(soaked in warm water for about 15 minutes beforehand)
1 small red onion - finely chopped
5 green chillies and 1 tbs coconut - grinded to smooth consistency
¼ tsp turmeric and salt to taste
Popu or tadka ingredients - 1 tsp oil, ¼ tsp each- cumin, mustard seeds

In a wide skillet, heat oil. Add and toast cumin and mustard seeds. Add and saute onion to soft. While onions are cooking, squeeze the water from soy nuggets and add them to the pan. Stir-fry for few minutes. Add dill and ridge gourd pieces. Stir in green chilli-coconut paste, salt and turmeric. Mix and cook, covered for about 5 to 10 minutes, until the ridge gourd pieces become soft. Serve hot with chapati/bread.

I prepared a ciabatta sandwich. Cut and toasted the bread lightly. Filled it with liberal amounts of curry and spooned some yogurt on the top as dressing. Ciabatta bread absorbed the moist curry flavors very well. The highlight of course is fragrant fresh dill in the curry. Delightful Dill made my dil happy and I loved my meal today!


Ridge gourd-Dill Sandwich with Cucumber Slices and a Piece of Karachi Halwa

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Soy (Tofu, Yuba), Beera kaaya(Ridge Gourd), Suwa (Dill) (Monday April 9, 2007 at 10:21 pm- permalink)
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Menthi Beerakaya (Methi-Turai Curry)

Our kitty, Kittaya enjoys greens. He likes to eat cilantro, wheat grass and catnip. His latest green find is methi (fresh fenugreek leaves). He picks up a branch with his mouth and walks around the house munching on the leaves. Kitties are notoriously finicky eaters, some of you may know this already and we are extremely happy with his new choice. See, we like fresh methi too. So the recent routine is, almost every week we buy a bundle of fresh fenugreek from local Indian grocery shop. I keep few branches for Kittaya on the side in a vase. With the remaining I was trying out different recipes. One such recipe is methi with ridge gourd (turai, beerakaya). Sweet tasting vegetables like ridge gourd and potato etc compliment potent fresh methi. Easy to prepare, decent curry to have with chapatis or with rice and dal. A different taste but nonetheless a good one.

Fresh Fenugreek Leaves and Ridge Gourd Pieces (Turai, Beerakaya)
Fresh Methi and Ridge Gourd Pieces

Recipe:

2 ridge gourds (peel the ridges, wash and chop to bite sized pieces)
1 bunch fresh fenugreek (Wash and chop or pluck the leaves)
1 onion - finely chopped
6 green chillies and one tsp of grated coconut - finely ground in a spice grinder
Turmeric and salt to taste
Ingredients for popu or tadka (1 tsp each - oil, curry leaves, cumin and mustard seeds)

Heat oil in a wide skillet. Add and toast popu ingredients in the order listed. When mustard seeds start to jump around, add the onion. Saute until the onion pieces soften. Add ridge gourd pieces. Mix. Cover and cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes. Ridge gourd pieces usually are tender and they cook fast. Methi leaves won’t take more than two or three minutes to wilt/cook.

At the end of 10 minutes, add methi leaves, green chilli-coconut paste, turmeric and salt. Mix and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring in-between. Serve hot with rice or with chapati.


Methi Turai Curry (Menthi Beerakaya) with Plain Toor Dal Rasam and Rice ~ Our Meal Today

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Beera kaaya(Ridge Gourd), Menthi Kura(Fenugreek) (Tuesday February 13, 2007 at 3:40 pm- permalink)
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Vegetable Pongal ~ A Pleasing Meal

I admit, I really like saying the word “Pongal”. Try it. Once more, “Pongal”. Isn’t that fun? I knew you would agree. And we love pongal. No sense in denying it, we are pongal worshippers. Rice and moong dal cooked to creamy moist tenderness with ghee inspired countless people to gush, and I am no exception.

As you can imagine, we are always looking for pongal recipes that will excite our finicky tastebuds. Boy, we cooked one today. Pongal with mixed vegetables and cashews, flavored with ginger and ghee. A filling one-pot meal with minimum effort. Sounds superb, doesn’t it? Now imagine that decadent creamy pongal warmly melting in your mouth with each bite. I promise, it really is as good as it sounds. Even better!

Secret is all in the rice. Pick brown/unpolished or parboiled varieties for maximum ruchi and I found that Kerala red rice (or Rosematta rice - an unpolished red rice from India, cultivated since ancient times in Kerala and Tamilnadu regions) is the supreme, healthy choice for this recipe.


Kerala Red Rice+Roasted Yellow Moong Dal, Vegetables, Curry leaves, Ginger and Coriander Leaves

Recipe:

Half cup - Kerala red rice (Rosematta rice)
Half cup - yellow moong dal
Two cups - cut vegetables
Half cup - roasted cashews
Ten curry leaves and few sprigs of fresh coriander leaves
One teaspoon each - cumin, minced ginger, peppercorn, turmeric and salt
Two tablespoons - ghee

Dry roast yellow moong dal to pale brown on low heat, in an iron skillet. Remove, mix with Kerala red rice. Wash gently with water then drain quickly.

Prepare vegetables to bite sized pieces. My choice was - ridge gourd (turai), carrot, red bell pepper, one each and a fistful of fresh corn and peas. For spicy punch, I added 4 green chillies-finely chopped.

When you are ready to cook - heat ghee in a large, heavy-based pan.

Add curry leaves first and then cumin and ginger. Saute to gold color.
Add the cut vegetables, coriander leaves. Saute for about 5 minutes.
Add the Kerala red rice and moong dal.
Add 6 cups of water and 1 cup of milk.
Coarsely crush peppercorn and add along with salt and turmeric.

Mix. Cover and simmer on medium heat, stirring occasionally.

After about 20 to 30 minutes, the grains will be tenderly soft and there will still little bit of liquid (at least half cup) left in the pot. Turn off the heat at this stage and add the roasted cashews. Mix and serve this liquid kanji (ganji) like vegetable pongal immediately.

Vegetable Pongal
Vegetable Pongal ~ Our Afternoon Meal Today


Kerala Red Rice (Rosematta Rice) -Available in Indian grocery shops
Traditional Pongali - Recipe

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Biyyamu (Rice), Beera kaaya(Ridge Gourd), Moong Dal (Washed), Rosematta Rice (Tuesday January 30, 2007 at 1:49 pm- permalink)
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Ridgegourd~Moongdal (Beerakaya Pesara Pappu)

Precious things in nature often have some protective mechanisms to guard themselves. A pineapple or a rose, by the looks or touch, they strongly give signals to not to touch. But remove those sharp things and you know there will be a sensory explosion awaiting you. Same thing with the vegetable, ‘ridge gourd’ (beerakaya, turai). Just at the first look a person with any veg sense or nature sense would immediately know that this vegetable has something special going on.

Nature has showed a special interest on this veggie. Unlike any other gourds, ridge gourd has some sharp vertical ridges along its body. The younger the vegetable the sharper the ridges are. Once you peel the ridges and cut it open, sweet tender taste awaits you. Mature, old ones have ridges like far end of knife, dulled and raised - signaling that they are not good for consumption. Like dried rose petal potpourri, they are also destined for bathrooms as loofas. But young ones, they taste tenderly sweet and here in this traditional Bharath recipe they are paired with moong dal. Lightly roasted moong dal and tender ridge gourd cooked together with green chillies. And tadka is added at the end to bring life to the dish. Easy comfort food that tastes good, particularly on a cold day like today.


Ridge Gourd and Roasted Yellow Moong Dal

Recipe:

Yellow Moong dal: Roast 1 cup of yellow moong dal in an iron skillet to light golden-brown color. I prefer moong dal always roasted, this is a habit I got from my mother. It takes few minutes to do the roasting but I do think they taste so much better as a result.

Ride gourd and green chillies: Peel the ridges of one medium sized young ridge gourd and scrape the skin lightly. Cut the vegetable to small pieces. Comes about 3 cups. Also finely chop 8 green chillies.

Cook: Take roasted moong dal, ridge gourd pieces and green chillies. Add a tablespoon of tamarind juice, half teaspoon of turmeric and one glass of water. Pressure-cook or cook covered until they are tender. Remove the lid, add about half teaspoon of salt and mash the dal to smooth consistency.

Do the popu or tadka: Heat a teaspoon of peanut oil in a vessel. Add and toast few curry leaves, a tablespoon of minced garlic and one teaspoon of cumin and mustard seeds, in that order. When seeds start to dance, immediately add the mashed dal to the popu.

Serve warm. Tastes good with rice and with chapatis.


Ridge Gourd~Moong Dal with Rosematta Rice

Turai curry with fresh dill - recipe

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Indian Vegetables, Beera kaaya(Ridge Gourd), Moong Dal (Washed) (Thursday November 2, 2006 at 2:34 pm- permalink)
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Ridgegourd Chutney (Beerakaya Pacchadi)

It’s been raining hard for the past one week here. I’d have grown a sprout from my head if I were a seed. It’s been so much and non-stop drizzle. With all this wet rainy weather, I wasn’t doing much cooking for the past couple of days and yesterday, ridge gourd came to my rescue.

I have never tasted a ridge gourd dish that I didn’t like. Be it a simple homely dal with toordal, or cooked in coconut, milk or in tomato sauce… I like all versions of ridge gourd preparations. “Superlative” says SH of Saffron Hut and I totally agree with her. It is like potato, easily likable and adaptable to any type of recipe. This chutney I am writing about today is one such recipe.

Some vegetables suit for chutneys and some don’t. Of all the vegetable based chutneys, ridge gourd chutney is the best in my view. The sweetness of the ridge gourd perfectly complements the hot and sour flavors of onion, chillies and tamarind. The chutney will be a perfect side dish with hot rice and dal, or for tortilla chips dip. If you like the taste of ridge gourd and if you haven’t tried chutney with it, then you have to try this recipe. This is A+, I tell you!

Ridge gourd, Onion, Green chillies and Tamarind

Recipe:

1 Ridge gourd (beerakaya) - Peel the outer ridges, wash and cut into big chunks
1 medium sized onion - cut into big chunks
6-8 small green chillies - each cut into two or three pieces
1 garlic clove - peeled and halved
½ tablespoon of freshly squeezed tamarind juice
¼ teaspoon of salt or to taste
1 teaspoon of peanut oil
A skillet and a mortal and pestle or a blender

1 Heat peanut oil in an iron skillet on medium-high heat.

2 Add and sauté the ridge gourd, onion, green chillies and garlic until light brown. Turn off the heat and wait for 10 minutes to cool.

3 Take them in mortar, add tamarind and salt. Using the pestle make a coarse paste or you could do that in a blender, but use ‘pulse’ button few times.

4 Remove into a cup and serve with rice/chapatis or as a veggie dip for chips.


Ridge gourd chutney, Dal and Rice (Beera kaya pacchadi mariyu pappu annam) ~ My Comfort Food

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Beera kaaya(Ridge Gourd) (Friday May 19, 2006 at 11:15 am- permalink)
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Ridge Gourd Dal (Beerakaya Pappu)

Everyone has their own food weaknesses. Mine has always been rice and dal. I loose my dietary control over this combination. I am a dal-holic.:) So, what did I do with ridge gourd purchased from ‘Lotus’ yesterday, I have ridge gourd dal. Simple yet divinely tasty when mixed with rice and ghee. Today, no portion control for me.

Ridge Gourd (Beera Kaya, Turai) Pressure Cooked Ridge Gourd and Toor Dal Mixture
Ridge Gourd - In bite sized pieces………….. ……………Presssure-cooked toor dal and vegetable mixture

Recipe:
for two for two meals

Toor dal - 4 fistfuls (¾ cup)
Vegetables:
One medium sized ridge gourd
outer ridges peeled first and then cut into small cubes
One medium sized onion & 6 to 10 green chilli peppers -all finely chopped
Seasoning:
1 tablespoon of tamarind extract
¼ tsp of turmeric
½ tsp of salt
For popu or tadka: 1 tsp each of mustard seeds, cumin, urad dal, minced garlic and curry leaves

Take toor dal, vegetables (listed above), tamarind and turmeric in a pressure cooker. Add about two cups of water. Pressure-cook them til 3 whistles or until they turn soft. Wait until it’s safe to open the lid, then add salt to this cooked mix. With a wood masher, make a smooth paste of the cooked dal-veggies. At this stage, for a more soup kind of dal, add water to your liking, stir and bring it to a boil. (Do this step only if you add more water to the cooked-mashed dal. Otherwise it’s not necessary to cook the dal further.)

In a steel vessel, heat one teaspoon of peanut oil. Sauté the popu or tadka ingredients until golden, then add the mashed dal-veggie paste from the cooker. Mix the dal with popu ingredients thoroughly. Serve hot with rice and ghee.

Ridge Gourd Dal with rice and curry

Ridge gourd dal and curry with rice and ghee - my weakness and indulgence.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Toor Dal, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Beera kaaya(Ridge Gourd) (Thursday February 9, 2006 at 2:36 pm- permalink)
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Ridge Gourd,Potato & Carrot Curry

Ridge gourd, potato and carrot - this is a veggie match, made in an Indian kitchen. Their flavors compliment each other and when combined with some onion, green chillies, coconut, they make a fresh, satisfying side dish.

This is the kind of veg-medley I love to make when I’m short on time. A pleasing, sweet-spicy taste that pairs well with rice and dal or with chapatis and corn tortillas. Tasty and flexible, lot of curry in less time - what more one could want in a recipe?

Ridge Gourd, Carrot, Potato, Red Onion, Dried Peas soaking in Water, Green Chillies and garlic

Recipe:

2 fresh looking ridge gourds (turai, beera kaya): First peel/or scrape the ridges on outside, wash the veggie, then cut it into bite sized pieces.
1 medium sized potato and carrot - peeled, then cut into bite sized cubes
1 onion - finely chopped
5 green chillies and 1 tbs of coconut powder - made into smooth paste
Salt to taste and pinch of turmeric
1 fistful of fresh or dried peas - I used dried peas (soaked overnight in water)
Popu ingredients - 1 tsp each of mustard seeds, cumin, minced garlic and curry leaves

It’s just like regular curry preparation, only thing you have to keep in mind is - first cook potatoes and carrots, add ridge gourd later, as it cooks faster, compared to potatoes and carrots.

Heat one teaspoon of peanut oil in a big pan. Add popu ingredients. When they start to splutter, add onions, saute for few minutes. Stir in peas, potatoes and carrots. Cover and cook them in their own moisture, for about 10 minutes on medium heat.

When they are little bit softened, stir in ridge gourd pieces, salt, turmeric and green chilli-coconut paste. Cover again and cook them, stirring in-between, till they reach the texture/softness you desire.

Serve hot with chapati/paratha or with rice and dal combination.

Beerakaya kura and paratha
Ridge gourd curry and paratha ~ Our lunch.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Potato, Carrots, Indian Vegetables, Beera kaaya(Ridge Gourd) (Wednesday January 18, 2006 at 4:16 pm- permalink)
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Ridge Gourd in Tomato Sauce (Beerakaya Pulusu)

Ridge Gourd, Beerakaya, Turai

Ridge gourd is often compared to zucchini, the squash. But the comparison is like saying potato and sweet potato are the same. Except for where they come from, there is no comparison at all taste wise, between those two.

Ridge gourd has a firmer, less watery texture than zucchini, and the flavor is much more intense and sweet, where as Zucchini seems to be full of water and nothing else when cooked and too bland to taste. Given a choice, ridge gourd clearly comes out as the winner, taste wise. Though I dislike character less personalities in life, I do like the bland zucchini. It took some time but it won me over. In case of ridge gourd, I may have made complaining noises about other veggies but never about ridge gourd or ‘beerakaya’ we call it in Telugu. Be as curry or chutney or in dal, I relish ridge gourd in all forms. I even tried growing it here, when we were in Houston albeit unsuccessfully, not good seeds.

Here is a recipe of ridge gourd in tomato sauce, Vijay’s favorite and My Mother-in-law’s recipe:

Ridge Gourd, Tomato, Onion, Dhania Powder, Green Chillies and Turmeric

Recipe:

2 young looking, fresh ridge gourds
Scrape the skin and ridges, wash, then cut into bite size pieces
4 ripe juicy tomatoes - finely chopped
1 onion - finely chopped
4 green chillies
—————-
1 tablespoon of coconut powder
½ tsp of dhania(coriander) powder & turmeric
¼ tsp of salt - or to your taste
Popu ingredients - 1tsp each of mustard seeds, cumin, curry leaves & minced garlic

Preparation:
You know the drill. Heat peanut oil, do the popu, sauté onions, tomatoes and green chillies. Add chopped ridge gourd and all the seasoning. Stir to mix and cook, covered. Tomato juice and water that comes from cooked ridge gourd pieces is going to be enough to make the curry a stew/kurma type. So don’t add any extra water, unless you want a watery, thin version. Cook till ridge gourd pieces are tender and the sauce thickens. Serve it warm.

Though I have to say my favorite is always the dry curry recipe, that I posted a while back, I also make this sauced version sometimes, because Vijay likes it. Either as a sauce for pasta/with chapati/ or with rice, this curry tastes good. Sometimes, we do the dunking thing with toasted garlic bread. Good eat, any way you prefer.

Cooking Ridge gourd (Beerakaya Curry
Cooking ridge gourd (beerakaya, turai) in tomato sauce.

Recipe source: Attamma(MIL)

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Tomato, Indian Vegetables, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Beera kaaya(Ridge Gourd) (Wednesday January 11, 2006 at 1:59 pm- permalink)
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