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Friday, January 21, 2011

Ridge Gourd and Lentil Soup

Ridge Gourd and Lentil Soup Peerkanga peerakkai beerakaya dal stew indian vegetarian

Ridge gourd was one of my least favorites when I was growing up. But, over the last few years, since it is available at the local Asian stores, I've come to rediscover and enjoy this strange vegetable.

Ridge gourd is usually spongy inside with not much flesh/meat, so, I use 2 or 3 large ones to make a reasonable quantity of this dish that showcases the vegetable. Much like chayote squash or opo squash and some of the summer squashes, ridge gourd doesn't have much of its own strong personality/flavor. It turns translucent when cooked even though it starts out spongy and white.

Peerkanga peerakkai beerakaya

The best part about ridge gourd for me is its peel, its ridged almost thorny skin: I use it for making Ridge Gourd Peel Chutney (Peerkangai Tholi Thogayal), which is a family favorite - goes well with dosai, roti and even rice.

1-2 long tender ridge gourd
1-2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cups cooked, mushy Toor (Tuvar) Dal
1 Tbsp canola oil
2 Tbsp Madras Curry Powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
4-6 cloves of garlic (optional)gin
salt to taste
water as needed
some curry leaves, cilantro, spring onions for garnish


  1. Skin the ridge gourd and save the skin for Ridge Gourd Peel Chutney; dice the ridge gourd, set aside
  2. heat oil in a pan, add the onions, ginger, a pinch of salt, turmeric and sauté till onions turn translucent
  3. add the tomatoes, spices, brown sugar, ridge gourd, cooked toor dal, a cup of water (adjust as needed)
  4. cover and allow to cook till ridge gourd is done - usually doesn't take very long, it cooks up fast
  5. adjust salt to taste; increase water for a runny soup (I prefer thick stew that can be scooped up in the spoon)
  6. garnish with curry leaves and serve warm as-is or with rice or indian flat breads

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