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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

snake gourd and brown lentils

snake gourd brown lentile indian vegetarian

Snake gourd (Trichosanthes cucumerina) intrigued me as a child - its shape and color, its soft spongy core, its hollow inside, its resemblance to bitter gourd... the only other vegetable that intrigued me equally when I was growing up was the Moringa (aka drumstick, murungakai).

My mom usually made koottu, molagoottal, or poduthuval out of snake gourd. It struck me as bland and tasteless, almost watery. And if not picked tender and cooked right away, they tend to become woody/chewy and rather unpalatable. The seeds and pulp inside are bitter. And, many a times, the flesh also happens to be bitter.

If buying fresh snake gourd, I usually try to taste a tiny bit before cooking and serving. They are also available frozen. So far, the frozen ones have turned out better tasting than the fresh ones I have used. Possibly because they are picked tender and frozen right away whereas the fresh ones travel a long way to reach my local produce market...

My preferred way to cook snake gourd so far has been to sauté it with some salt and turmeric powder, add some tempering and some grated coconut, and serve it light and simple with some rice and rasam or sambar. Every once in a while, I like to throw in some lentils to up the nutritional value, as in this recipe.

1 pkt frozen, sliced snake gourd
1 cup brown lentils, soaked overnight
¼ cup grated coconut
1-2 green chilies
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp Madras curry powder
salt to taste
Tempering: 1 Tbsp canola oil, 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp urad dal, 3-4 curry leaves


cook the brown lentils till soft and tender but not mushy

coarsely blend the coconut and green chilies and keep handy

tempering: heat oil in a pan, when shimmering add the urad dal, when it turns golden brown, add the mustard seeds and when they pop add the cumin seeds and curry leaves, then add the turmeric powder and curry powder, stir a little to let the spices bloom

add the frozen snake gourd, cooked brown lentils, salt to taste, sauté a bit, cover and let the snake gourd cook till tender but not mushy; stir in the coconut-green-chili mixture

This Snake Gourd & Brown Lentils is my 'S' dish for lovely Nupur's A to Z of Indian Vegetables event.

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  • At 12:31 PM, Blogger Asha said…

    What a lovely recipe.I got some Snake gourd last weekend and made Sambhar too!Dish looks great:))

  • At 3:46 AM, Blogger Nupur said…

    It has been so many years since I tasted snake gourd that I don't remember the taste any more! I'm wishing I could reach into the screen for a bite :)

  • At 2:16 PM, Blogger Sukanya Ramkumar said…

    It is a lovely recipe.....long time since I have tasted it...Reminds me of my home...


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