Beerakaya Gutthi Koora

Beerakaya – ridge gourd – is very commonly used in Andhra cooking.  It is one of my favorite vegetables but I don’t enjoy it much in US since I am never able to recreate the taste of my childhood.  Most vegetables that I grew up enjoying fail to impress me – I am not sure if nostalgia makes me think that they tasted different and better or if it is just the quality of vegetables – all organic, local and picked at the best time – that made them taste better.

Beerakaya can be made in many ways and its skin is used to make pachadi (a chutney).  I normally make it with milk but wanted to do something different and tried the stuffed ridge gourd recipe that I found in a magazine.  It is time consuming but worth the effort.  No…the vegetable didn’t still taste like it did in India but it was good.

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Ingredients:

  • Ridge gourd – 1 lb
  • Peanuts – 2 tbsp
  • Sesame seeds – 1 tbsp
  • Coriander seeds – 1 tbsp
  • Dry coconut powder – 1 tbsp
  • Chana dal – 1 tbsp
  • Urad dal – 1 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds – 1/8 tsp
  • Red chili – 1
  • Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
  • Curry leaves – a few
  • Turmeric powder – a pinch
  • Chili powder – 1 tbsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Oil – 3 tbsp
  • Coriander leaves – a few sprigs

Method:

  1. Dry roast peanuts, sesame seeds, chana dal, urad dal, cumin and coriander separately and grind them into a coarse powder along with salt, coconut and chili powder.
  2. Peel the ridge gourd and cut them into 2 to 3 inch pieces.  Cross hatch the pieces by cutting a deep X but still keeping it intact
  3. Stuff the ridge gourd pieces with the ground powder
  4. Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds and red chili; when mustard seeds splatter add the stuffed ridge gourd pieces, curry leaves and any left over powder
  5. Cover the pan with a lid and cook on medium heat.  Keep checking the pan and gently shake the pan so the vegetable cooks evenly.  Add a few tbsp of water if it looks too dry
  6. When the ridge gourd is cooked completely add coriander leaves and serve with rice or rotis

Note: I like a lot of gravy in my stuffed vegetable curries so I usually use a little more nuts than the recipe calls for.  For this recipe, I used about 6 tbsp of peanuts and 2 tbsp of sesame seeds along with 2 tbsp of coconut

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