Unlike many other seasonal vegetables, Dondakaya/Kovakkai/Thondekai or Ivy Gourd is available in all seasons. One can prepare variety of dishes with it – Dondakaya/Kovakkai Rice, Dondakaya/Kovakkai Sambar, Dondakaya/Kovakkai Fry, Dondakaya/Kovakkai Curry etc. You can get variations of Dondakaya/Kovakkai Curry by adding various types of Masala powders. Below I have described a simple South Indian style (or rather coastal Karnataka style) Curry that is Coconut based. In fact, the Coconut + Red Chillies mixture ground in a mixer grinder used in this Curry is the same as the one that is used in many of the other Currys/Palya/Poriyals like Beans Curry, Okra or Bhindi Curry, Beetroot Curry etc. You just add this mixture when the vegetable is being cooked in the pan. The type of Dondakaya/Kovakkai Curry described here goes well with Rice but I like to have it with Chapati too.
Dondakaya/Kovakkai is known by names like Dondakaya in Telugu, Tindora in Hindi, Tendli in Marathi , Kovakkai in Tamil and Thondekayi in Kannada. As for health benefits of Dondakaya/Kovakkai/Thondekai, this vegetable has been used to come up with products that can help diabetic patients control their blood sugar levels.
- Tender Green Dondakaya/Kovakkai/Ivy Gourds/Tondekayi – 1/4 Kg or 15-20 pieces
- Grated Coconut – 1/4 Cup + 1 Tbsp
- Red Chillies – 3-4
- Jaggery – 1/4 tsp
- Oil – 1 Tbsp
- Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
- Urad Dal/White Lentils – 1/2 tsp
- Curry Leaves – 5-6
Time to Prepare: 15-20 min
How to Make Thondekayi/Dondakaya/Kovakkai Curry :
- Wash and clean the Dondakaya/Kovakkai thoroughly. Cut and make 4 slices out of each Dondakaya/Kovakkai.
- Pressure cook the Dondakaya/Kovakkai/Tondekayi by adding 1/4 cup of water until you hear 3-4 whistles. One can also cook the vegetable directly after seasoning is done. I usually pressure cook Dondakaya/Kovakkai to save time.
- Meanwhile, add Grated Coconut and Red Chillies in a mixer grinder and powder it. Make sure you do not add water to the mixture.
- Heat Oil in a frying pan, add Mustard Seeds. When the Mustard Seeds start to pop, add Urad Dal and fry until the Dal turn golden in color. Now add the Curry Leaves and fry for a minute.
- Now add the cooked Dondakaya/Kovakkai with little water used while pressure cooking. Also add the ground powder from step 3. Add Salt and Jaggery and mix well. Cook until the water content in the pan disappears. Take care to see that the Thondekayi/Dondakaya/Kovakkai pieces do not get burnt.
- Or if you need to cook the Dondakaya/Kovakkai without pressure cooking, directly add raw Dondakaya/Kovakkai or Ivy Gourd after seasoning in Step 4 above and add little water and close the lid and leave it to cook for about 10 min or until the vegetable pieces become tender. Then add Salt, Jaggery and the Coconut+Chilli Powder (from step 3) to the pan and mix well. Cook until the water content disappears from the pan.
Now the Thondekayi/Dondakaya/Kovakkai Curry is ready to serve. I love to have this accompany Chapati, but it goes well with plain rice.
- Always use Tender and Green Dondakaya/Kovakkai, this tastes good. As you probably already know, do not use Dondakaya/Kovakkai if it is “ripe” or has turned to red color inside.
- Be careful to not add excess Salt, since it’s easy for Thondekayi/Dondakaya/Kovakkai Curry to absorb more salt.