Ridge Gourd called Beerakaya in telugu and Turia in hindi and Peerkangai in tamil is a popular veggie in India. It is basically from the Cucurbit family ( gourds family ) like chayote, cucumber, squash etc.,. It looks rugged and strong from outside, but the inside is spongy and neither too moist like cucumber nor too dry like squash. This veggie tastes very mild, sweet and never boring. you can saute with garlic and onion or cook with tomatoes for a robust side dish. Recharge your favorite dal or vegetable curry by swapping out any squash for ridge gourd. Ridge gourd is a virtual factory of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Zinc, Thiamin, Iron, Magnesium and Manganese. This veggie is also low in saturated fat and cholestrol.
To tell the truth when i was a kid i never liked this vegetable and used to make faces when my mom tried to give us this because of its goodness . Also she used to say that it cools the body heat( vedi thaggisthundi ) in many folds. I remember she used to save all those peels and make chutney the same day. Yes the peel is full of fiber and the chutney tasted great( no complaints for the chutney though!). I started to love this vegetable only after coming to US( since indian grocery was too far then i hardly had chance to cook them ) .I usually make beerakai thellagadda neyyi talimpu( ridge gourd sauteed with ghee and garlic ), beerakai pappu( ridge gourd with lentils ), beerakai pulusu koora( ridgegourd in tamarind sauce ), beerakaya pachadi( ridge gourd chutney ), beerakai pottu kura( ridge gourd peel curry ), beerakaya pottu pachadi( ridge gourd peel chutney ). My sister is the best cook i know of after my mom and this recipe is actually from her! She cooks in authentic andhra style and that too she does everything in a gif! Kudos to my sweet sister!
The following recipe calls for Toor dal ( lentils ) spiced with green chillies and tamarind for the sourness. This dish is so simple yet quickly adds up to good health and great taste. Look for sharp ridges and when pressed your nail should be able to easily slip into the gourd which says they are tender and ready to be cooked, unlike the mature ones which are used to make Loofahs.
Coming to the recipe, you need:
1 arm sized ridge gourd peeled and chopped into 1 inch squares
1 big onion chopped 1 inch pieces
8-10 green chillies cut length wise
4-5 garlic pods( crushed )
1 cup Red gram( toor dal/ tuwar dal/ kandi pappu)
lemon sized tamarind
2 cups water
For tempuring or tadka
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
dash of hing
a pinch of turmeric
10 curry leaves
2 tbsp oil
Peel the ridge gourd( save the peels for the chutney ) and chop into pieces
In a dry pan add some ghee/ butter and fry the washed and dried toor dal. Frying the dal gives unique texture, flavor and sweet aroma to the dish.
In a pressure pan, add oil, and do popu or tadka
Once the seeds start to dance around, add curry leaves, hing and turmeric
Add the garlic, onions, green chillies and saute for a min.Now add tomato and ridge gourd pieces( beerakaya mukkalu ) and saute for a min.
Add the cleaned and soaked toor dal, soaked tamarind, water and pressure cook for 2-3 whistles( takes anytime between 5-10 min ). Or you can cook seperately until the toor dal falls apart.
Remove the weight and cook for 5 more min. Add coriander just before serving
Adjust salt to taste
Serve this beerakaya pappu aka ridge gourd and lentils curry with steamed rice, chapathis, rotis or whole wheat bread. Nothing is more comforting than a bowl of rice and this dal! This post is on its way to JFI - Toor Dal hosted by Linda.
Tags: Beerakaya pappu, Peerkangai Pappu, Ridge Gourd and Toor Dal, Ridge gourd curry with lentils, Turia Dal