Dondakaya Ulli Kura Karam (Ivy Gourd Stir Fry)

I have posted a couple of ivy gourd recipes before. This one is a little different, from the states of Andhra Pradesh/Telengana in the south of India. I seem to have an affinity for Andhra recipes. I do enjoy the bold taste of their dishes. And ivy gourd in a vegetable that is cooked at least once a week in my home. That’s because it is available throughout the year. And no worries about it being organic or not. This is a creeper that grows wild once it is sown. And requires very little care. Normally no pesticides are used in its cultivation since it grows rather wild. This makes it very affordable – I often pick it from my non-organic vegetable supplier at very low cost. But, most important of all, it is an extremely tasty vegetable!

Dondakaya Ulli Kura Karam

Ingredients
500 gms ivy gourd (kundru, kovakkai)
1/2 tsp mustard seeds (sarson, kadugu)
1 sprig curry leaves, chopped fine
A pinch of turmeric powder (haldi, manjal podi)
A pinch of asafoetida (hing, perunkayam)
Salt to taste
For The Masala
2 tbsp coriander seeds (sabut dhania, kothamalli varai)
1 tbsp Bengal gram (chana dal, kadalai parupu)
1 tbsp split black lentils (urad dal, ulutham parupu)
1 tbsp white sesame seeds (safed til, ellu)
1 tsp cumin seeds (sabut jeera, jeeragam)
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds (methi dhana, venthiyam)
3 dried red chilis (adjust according to taste)
A marble sized ball of tamarind
2 tbsp roasted peanuts
Method
Rinse the ivy gourd and cut it lengthwise
Place in a heavy bottomed vessel and add turmeric powder
Sprinkle a little salt and water
Cook till the ivy gourd in firm, but tender
Set aside
Heat a wok and add the Bengal gram and split black lentils
Roast till the lentils turn golden brown
At this stage, add the fenugreek seeds, coriander seeds, sesame seeds, cumin seeds and red chilis
Roast till aromatic (do not burn)
Remove from flame and cool
Then transfer to a blender
Add the peanuts and tamarind
Blend to a powder
Set aside
Heat a wok and add mustard seeds
When they begin to splutter, add the curry leaves and asafoetida
Continue to roast for a few seconds more
Add the cooked ivy gourd and the ground masala
Mix well
Cover and cook on low flame for 3-4 minutes
Adjust salt
Turn off flame and transfer to a serving bowl
Serve hot with steamed red/brown rice or Indian breads
Enjoy!

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