November 09, 2022

 Tindora with Patra/ Stir fried Ivy Gourd.

Tindora, also known as Ivy Gourd in English, Kovakka in Malayalam is a member of the cucumber family grows on vines in Tropical regions. Outside my grandfather's house, it grew wild on the high laterite walls surrounding the press building and we kids looked at at as wild berries. Now this is a vegetable that I did not eat while growing up, so the taste was a mystery to me till I lived in Mumbai. There it is common and relished. A Manglorean friend taught me to make it with garlic and coconut and I was hooked. When I moved to NJ, the Indian grocery store had all regional vegetables and this became a staple in my house. Chop, cover and steam cook and then stirfry with spices. Not even worth making into a recipe. But after a long time, I tasted a new version of it at my friend's house as she combined the usual tindora recipe with frozen patra pieces imparting a new flavor to the ordinary. Trying to remember how a new recipe was done requires some mental gyrations now, so chronicling it for myself more than anyone else. Spicy but slightly sweet.


  • 1 lb/500 gm Tindora
  • 1 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds
  • 2 Dried Red Chilli
  • 6-7 Curry Leaves
  • a pinch Heeng (Asafoetida)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • 1/2 or 3/4 Teaspoon Red Chilli Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Coriander Powder
  • 3/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Oil
  • 1 tablespoon grated coconut


Wash and dry the tindora. Cut off the bit at the stem end and slice them into circles. This is a mindless activity that has to be done mindfully, to avoid cutting your hand. I usually make a long over due call to a friend or listen to songs while cutting a large batch. Heat oil, splutter the mustard, cumin, red chilies, curry leaves and add a dash of asafoetida (heeng). Take care to lower the heat and use a splatter guard. Add the vegetables, red chili powder, turmeric, coriander powder and salt. Cover and cook for 5-7 minutes on medium heat or till the vegetable is cooked. Add the cut up patra and coconut and stir fry everything for 3-4 minutes. Serve with rice or roti.