There are certain vegetables that one might enjoy consuming cooked in different methods. Many basic Indian vegetables are easily adaptable to suit such variations. The ridge gourd is one such vegetable. When Velamma was around and she would do the vegetable shopping for my mother, she would select tender vegetables that are abundant in season. The market will more often be having local farm produces and hence such vegetables will be regular in the menu.While I have lately found that eating fresh tender ones raw with salt and pepper smeared is delectable, I might still love to have the heerekkayi bajji that my friend makes or the simple curry stewed with onions and tomatoes with rotis and most certainly my mother's porichcha kootu, this masiyal is also good to have with steamed rice as a side or to mix with the same. It is also my sister's favourite preparation. She is very fond of the vegetable stewed thus.
This is also a recipe that can be easily prepared without much of pre-cooking requirements; hence I am hoping that my daughter might find it quite suitable for her to cook and pack to work.
400 grams tender ridgegourd
1 small lime size tamarind
3 tablespoons thoor dhal (masoor dhal and moong dhal will work excellently too)
3 numbers dry red chillis
3 numbers fresh green chillis
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon split urad dhal
2 sprigs curry leaves
4 teaspoons cooking oil
1 heaped teaspoon salt (or as required)
Wash the vegetables clean and peel the skin lightly. Cut in small cubes.
Wash the thoor dhal clean and cook until soft. The dhal should be cooked soft enough to mash.
Soak the tamarind in water and extract the pulp.
Slit the green chillis in two.
Heat two teaspoons oil in a heavy pan. Drop the slit green chillis and saute' them for a few minutes. Add the cubed ridge gourd pieces and toss them for about three minutes.
Add some water, the turmeric powder and the salt. Cover and cook until the vegetable is tender.
Remove some of the cooked vegetable, mash the rest of the vegetable along with the cooked dhal.
Bring the tamarind extract to a boil in a pan and allow to simmer until the raw taste is lost.
Add the reduced extract to the cooked vegetables and the mashed dhal vegetable combination.
Cook all of these together until they blend well. add the asafoetida powder too.
Heat the remaining oil and add the mustard seeds. Allow them to splutter and add the split urad dhal. When it turns golden brown, remove from the stove and add it to the masiyal. Add the curry leaves.
Enjoy with hot steamed rice.
Other vegetables such as chow chow, bottle gourd and summer squash can be used in this preparation.
You can do away with the tamarind extract and squeeze the juice of a lime while serving