I seem to be on a spree to cook with un-glamorous, un-restaurant-y, humble vegetables. Well, why not? Gourds are very easy on the wallet and the waist line, mostly neutral in flavour, lend body to various dishes, have varied nutritional benefits but are ignored despite all these.
No South Indian breakfast is complete without chutney. That inevitably means use of fresh coconut. On days when you do not have stock of fresh/frozen coconut, or want to limit it’s use in daily meals, you need some saviour to rescue the day’s chutney. Enter the star of today’s chutney - ridge gourd. I have used it in this recipe to benefit from the nutrients it offers, as much as a coconut-substitute.
- Ridge gourd is high in moisture and crude fibre (good news for those with chronic constipation).
- It is a very low calorie vegetable, so great to include in a weight loss diet. It adds plenty of bulk to a meal without adding significant calories! This means, you can eat a whole cupful of ridge gourd and add less than 20 calories to the meal!
- Ridge Gourd has negligible Sodium and a fair source of Potassium. Hence it is useful for people with high blood pressure or certain kidney ailments where sodium is severely restricted.
Here is how I made the chutney. We used it to complement soft idlis for breakfast. It was spicy, tangy and declared ‘good’ by my family. Do try it out and let me know how you liked it. The quantity here serves 5-6. Halve to serve 2-3.The chutney can be refrigerated and used within 2 days.
Preparation Time – 15 minutes ; Cooking Time – 5-6 minutes ; Serves – 5 – 6
Allergy Information – Does NOT contain gluten, egg, soya, peanuts, corn, lactose.
Cookware - A frying pan, mixer grinder or food processor
- Red Onion – 1 medium, or measure 1/2 cup after chopping
- Roma Tomatoes – 2 medium, or measure 3/4 cup chopped
- Ridge Gourd / Peerkangai – 1 big, or measure 1+1/2 cups sliced
- Green chilli – 4-5 cut into halves
- Chana dal – 2 tbsp
- Tamarind – 1/4 tsp*
- Salt – 1/2 tsp
- Oil – 1/2 tsp
- Coriander leaves – 6-7 stalks with leaves (optional)
For Seasoning -
- Oil - 1/4 tsp
- Mustard seeds – /4 tsp
- Hing Powder – a pinch
* Use Tamarind if tomatoes are not tart enough, or add a couple of extra tomatoes and avoid tamarind. You can even omit tamarind entirely if you do not prefer a sour-ish chutney
- Prepare the vegetables for frying. To begin, wash, peel and chop onions. Next, wash peel and chop tomatoes and green chilli. Rinse the ridge gourd well, peel part of the rough skin at the ridges, while leaving some skin on the vegetable. Cut into thick slices.
- Heat a small wok / frying pan. Add the half tsp oil, let it heat up. Add the chana dal, fry over medium heat until golden brown. Add all the prepared vegetables, chilli, tamarind and salt. Toss well, (do not add any water), cover and simmer for 2–3 minutes or until you find the tomato skin has shrunk a little bit and the gourd seems to go slightly limp. If you are using coriander leaves, add at this point, and switch off flame.
- Let it cool. Grind to a coarse paste. You will not need any water for grinding. After removing to a bowl, rinse out the mixer jug with a 1/4 cup of water and add to the chutney if you wish to dilute it.
- Heat oil for seasoning. Crackle mustard seeds, add hing powder and pour over the chutney.
- Serve as accompaniment to idli, dosa, or over plain steamed rice, as a sandwich spread or as dip for crudites too!