When i was growing up, Beerakai (the Telugu name for Thurai/Thori/Ribbed or Ridged gourd/Peerkanka)was one of those things that appeared on the table at the end of the month when budgets were running tight, our piggy banks were being raided (always returned with interest by an overly conscientious mother!!) to last till payday came around. We loved it when Mummy ‘borrowed’ money from us – after what can quite equal the thrill to an 8-year old of ‘lending a tanner’ to an adult and seeing it returned with an additional buck or two?!
Nothing quite exemplifies the Indian maxim by which generations grew up – ‘cheap and best’ as the humble gourds. Up to 90 % water, packed with vitamins and trace minerals, they are also a dieter’s dream, as I discovered after I grew up.
Like many other gems of wisdom, common sense (are they really different??) and simplicity, this recipe was taught me by a very dear friend from Rajasthan.
Thurai or ridged gourd – 2 large, fresh ones. – Peel (reserve peel for chutney) and cube
1 tsp ghee
1.5 tsp dhania powder
1 tsp jeera powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 large pinch asafoetida
Kasuti methi – 1 large pinch
1/2 cup milk
green coriander – to garnish
Heat ghee gently in a saucepan and add all the powdered masalas and hing. Stir for a minute but do not burn – either self or masalas 😉
Add cut vegetables along with a tablespoon of water and cook, covered on a low flame, stirring occasionally till the vegetables are tender. Add kasuti methi and milk and switch off. Garnish with coriander and serve with phulkas – makes a filling but very light meal.
And if you insist on adding the calories, substitute the milk with cream – but STATUTORY WARNING : watch what it does to the hips!!!
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