Ridge Gourd Stir Fry ~ Beerakaaya Vepudu!

Once upon a time, there lived two dear friends, they were the Gourd Friends. They lived happily under the shade, enjoying the sunny breeze that whisked past and the cool showers that were poured over them. They spent many a sunny afternoons, happily napping and nudging together. Small, such was their world, they never thought for a moment that their lovely life will be disrupted! Evil hands clinched their friendship away, for their own use and thus ended their beautiful life together. The lovely Ridge Gourd, sacrificed itself for our dinner, while lonely and despair, the lone gourd turned bitter. Thus he came to be called a bitter gourd!

Today I am going to talk about the Ridge Gourd that was cooked, Bitter gourd will have another day!

Little facts about Beerakaya. It is called the Luffa. And commonly used as vegetables in Asia.

The Luffa acutangula is commonly known as Ridged Gourd and is called "Bhol" in Assamese, Turai in Hindi, Janhi in Oriya, Gisoda in Gujarati, Beerakaya in Telugu, heeray kAyi in Kannada, peechinga in Malayalam.

The fruit of L. aegyptiaca may also be allowed to mature and used as a bath or kitchen sponge after being processed to remove everything but the network of xylem. This version is called Lifah in Arabic, bhol in Assamese, dhundul in Bengali, ghiya tori or nerua in Hindi or "peerkankai" in Tamil or "beera kaya" in Telugu. - Wikipedia



Ok, coming to the Ridge Gourd, its quite a common vegetable at our home. I think in most Andhra homes, you will find some form of Beerakaya cooked and served. Amma always used to tell that her mom used to make the best Beera Kaya Pappu. Infact, Amma used to makes the pappu often. But we stopped after my marriage, as hubby dear was not very fond of Beera kaya pappu. Athamma makes a Beera Kaya Kura. I guess I will talk more about the memories of Beekaya Pappu and Kura in its post. When I checked my recipe list, I was surprised to see I haven't done a post on Beerakaya!

These days, we have got settled to cooking the same vegetables and we finally got fed up with the choice. I suddenly remembered the Ridge gourd. Its been a while since we cooked it. As I said Athamma makes a Kura for Chappati with this. We ended up making a Kura and a chutney. Andhra is famous for its chutneys and one that tops is the Beera kaya pachadi. We still had one left after the kura, so decided to do a Vepudu or Stir fry for the lunch.
This is a lovely crisp stir fry. Doesn't require lot of oil, yet whatever little masala that we added brought so much flavour to the fry. As most of our vepudus have, we added Ground nut powder. It gives a unique taste to whatever it gets added.

Ingredients Needed

Beera kaya / Ridge Gourd - 1 medium
Onion - 1 small
Red chili powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder a pinch
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 tsp
Ground nut powder - 1 tsp

Tempering
Mustard Seeds + Urud dal - 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves

Method to prepare:

Wash and peel Ridge Gourds. The peels can be made into chutney or Pachadi. Chop into 1 inch pieces. Keep aside

Heat oil in a pan, temper mustard and urad dal and curry leaves. Once they splutter, add chopped onions and sauté well. Fry till they turn pink.

Add the chopped Ridge gourd and stir well. Add the turmeric powder and salt. Simmer and cook with cooked lid for 5 mins.

Remove lid and stir well. Make sure the bottom is not burnt. Add the chili and coriander powder. Stir well again. And cook for another 10 mins or till the Beera kaya is soft. When you remove the lid, make sure the steam is let back to the pan. This way you give little moisture for the vegetable to get cooked.

Once the vegetable is done, add groundnut powder and mix well. Sim for just 1 min or can be removed after mixing well. We normally don't cook for long, once we add the groundnut powder.

This can be served with dal or sambar along with Rice. But I had it with Chappati, it went just so well too.

I am sending this to Ramona from The Houndstooth Gourmet, who is hosting "The Weekend Herb Blogging", an event started by Kalyn from Kalyn's Kitchen.

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