Dondakaya is a common vegetable in Andhra Pradesh (a State in Southern India). While I normally hate eating vegetables, this particular vegetable, prepared in the way my parents make it, I find absolutely delicious! If you’d like to try it, all you have to do is go to an Indian store and ask for “Tindora” which is the Hindi name for it. Once you get your hands on this vegetable, this is a fairly easy recipe to replicate.
Dondakaya or Tindora has a slightly tangy taste, and when sautéed in the manner I describe below, it turns out mostly soft, but slightly crunchy. Overall, it’s a flavourful vegetable with nutritional and health benefits. For one thing, according to WebMd it is “possibly effective” for helping manage diabetes by improving blood sugar control. It is also rich in beta carotene which can be converted by the body to Vitamin A (See Artemis C. Simopolous & C. Gopalan, Plants in Human Health, Basel, Switzerland: Karger, 2003) page 64-65).
If you’d like to give it a try, here is what you will beed:
500 g Tindora/Dondakaya/Indian Ivy Gourd
1 small or medium onion, sliced (yellow or red)
3-4 dried red chillis
1 -2 tsp of red chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 – 3/4 tsp cumin powder (optional)
1/2- 3/4 tsp coriander powder (cilantro seeds, ground) (optional)
3 tbsp oil (I use avocado oil, but you can use any oil that doesn’t have a very strong flavour/fragrance)
1. Slice the Dondakaya either widthways into rings, or lengthways into strips.
2. Add about 1.5 tbsp oil in a pan and heat it at medium-high. Once the oil is hot, add the sliced Dondakaya to the pan.
3. Sauté the Dondakaya for a few minutes, tossing the slices constantly.
4. Cover the pan and let the Dondakaya cook on low heat for about 10-13 minutes until the vegetable is softened.
6. Once the onions are softened and browned, add the Dondakaya to the pan again, and toss. Season with turmeric, chilli powder and cumin and coriander (if using) and stir the contents of the pan about, for a few minutes, until the spices are more evenly distributed over the Dondakaya pieces.
7. Once the spices are well distributed, take the pan of the heat and serve the Dondakaya Vepudu!
You can serve it as part of a South Indian meal with Pappu (lentils) and/or Pulusu (a tamarind broth with vegetables) and/or Rasam and/or Sambar, rice, roti, and yogurt.
Sometimes though, when I am busy, I make just the Vepudu and eat it with yogurt 🙂