A few years back if someone had told me I would begin to love ridge gourd in the year 2016, I would have laughed hard at them. I started making ridge gourd chutney after learning it from my colleague last year and today it is a much loved change to the regular fare at home. Early this year, I resolved myself to eating good healthy vegetables and to include them in good stir fries in our day to day stuff.
One such extremely healthy vegetable is ridge gourd. Available in abundance in India, this is such an easy vegetable to cook, if you choose right. This vegetable is dark green and ridged, hence the name. Ridge Gourd has a lot of water content and has good fiber too! Usually cooked plain for people recovering from any illness, it is very light on the stomach. Since it has very less calorie content, it is best for weight watchers too. The health benefits of this vegetable make this highly nutritional. When ridge gourd is tender, it has a nice sweet taste to it and is very soft, sponge like. If the skin appears too thick, it is always better not to choose it as it can be very fibrous with hard seeds. Sometimes ridge gourd can have mild bitterness too. The best trick to test out before using ridge gourd is cut it at one end and taste a little piece. A good ridge gourd would be sweet and not bitter.
This simple stir fry recipe using ridge gourd is from my Amma’s kitchen. For someone who never used to eat ridge gourd, it was my mom who changed it for me with this recipe. Amma also makes a simple milk based ridge gourd recipe for rice (surely a recipe for some other day) and this one is a fancy version of it, using onions and fresh coriander leaves. This stir fry goes really well with rice as well as roti, as a dry vegetable curry. Look out for other variations to the same recipe in the Notes section.
To make Beerakaya Koora | Andhra Style Ridge Gourd Stir Fry
What I used –
- Ridge Gourd, 1 large
- Onion, 1 large
- Fresh Coriander Leaves Chopped, 1/3 cup
- Dry Coconut Chutney Powder, 1.5 tbsp
- Mustard Seeds, ½ tsp
- Cumin Seeds, ½ tsp
- Urad Dal, 1 tsp
- Oil, 1 tsp + 1 tsp
- Salt, as needed
Prep Work –
1. Peel off the skin from ridge gourd and chop off the ends. Taste any one of the ends to make sure that the ridge gourd is not bitter. Chop into small sized cubes and set aside.
2. Chop onion and coriander leaves finely. Set aside.
How I made –
1. In a nonstick pan, heat 1 tsp of oil. Add mustard and cumin seeds along with urad dal. As mustard and cumin seeds splutter, urad dal should turn golden brown. Add chopped ridge gourd pieces. Add salt required for the vegetable and let it cook on low flame. Ridge Gourd would leave water and that should be enough to cook it. When the vegetable starts to become soft, remove from heat.
2. Meanwhile, in another pan heat 1 tsp of oil. Add finely chopped onions. Add salt required to sweat the onions and fry until translucent. Add finely chopped coriander leaves. Add the cooked ridge gourd pieces too. Mix everything together and cook on low flame for 2 mins.
3. Add the dry coconut chutney powder and cook for 3-4 mins until everything comes together. Remove from heat.
4. Serve hot with rice or roti.
- Choose a tender ridge gourd for best results. The skin should not be too thick and the seeds should be tender too. If the seeds are hard, scoop them out.
- If you don’t have the dry coconut chutney powder handy – dry roast 2 tsp of urad, 2 tsp of chana dal, 1 or 2 dried red chillies until golden brown and blend until fine.
- If you don’t want to use chutney powder, use ½ tsp of red chilli powder. Although the taste is exactly not the same, it tastes good too.
- After frying onion and coriander leaves, it can be made into a paste and mixed with cooked ridge gourd pieces. This variation tastes slightly sweet but deliciousness nonetheless.
- For a spicier version, green chillies can be added to the onion coriander mixture.
- No water is needed for this recipe as the vegetable leaves enough water to cook itself. If the ridge gourd is fresh and tender, it would leave a lot of water.