Friday, 16 December 2011




     1)    Ivy gourd/gentleman’s toes called koval or kovakka in Malayalam and tendle (pronounced tendlé) in Konkani – 250 gm.

     2)    Potato – 250 gm.
     3)    Dry hot red chilies – 5 Nos.
     4)    Mustard seeds – ½ teaspoon
     5)    Coconut oil – 1½ tablespoons (see note)
     6)    Salt – 1 level teaspoon

To Cook:

          Soak the ivy gourd in a solution of 1 litre of water with 10 ml. of vinegar for 10 minutes. Wash well and cut lengthwise into 4 quarters. Peel the potatoes. Wash and cut into 1 cm. thick x 1 cm. wide x 5 to 7 cm. long pieces. Break each of the red chilies into 2 or 3 pieces.

          Set a thick cast iron wok on high heat. Pour in the coconut oil. Throw in the mustard seeds. As soon as the mustard seeds are about to finish popping, tip in the broken red chilies. Stir once and put in the vegetable pieces. Sprinkle the salt. Stir well and lower the heat. Cover with a lid and let the vegetables cook slowly.

          Stir occasionally to avoid burning at the base since no water is added at any stage (for better taste). After around 10 minutes, check to see if the potatoes are cooked. If cooked, the ladle will slice through the potato piece smoothly. Taste and add more salt if required.

          Now set aside the lid and roast the upkari slowly on low heat stirring every couple of minutes. As soon as the vegetables are lightly roasted, switch off the heat and serve hot with rice, cherupayar kanji, porridge, chappatis or bread.



          Persons who are not allowed to use much oil in food for medical reasons can reduce the quantity of oil to just a teaspoon. In that case, as soon as the vegetables are in the wok, pour in a glass of water to compensate for the lack of oil. Cook on low heat till the vegetables are done. If some water still remains at the bottom, turn up the heat and stir to vaporize it. Serve hot.

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