The tinda and plural called tinday, also called Indian round gourd or apple gourd or Indian Baby Pumpkin, is a squash-like cucurbit grown for its immature fruit, a vegetable especially popular in India, in summer. Well all kids of gourds are popular in summer - the famous lau in bengali or lauki or the calabash, also known as opo squash, long melon, is a vine grown for its fruit, which can either be harvested young and used as a vegetable, or harvested mature, dried, and used as a bottle, utensil, or pipe. The whole vine is edible, from the seeds to flower to leaves to the fruit. But here we will just restrict to the fruit itself.
This recipe, though meant for the "lauki" can be used for any of the variants of the vegetable. I especially liked it with tinda. One can't seem to escape it in summer. A hardcore non-vegetarian like me actually had lunch with this and rice and really enjoyed it. Almost as good as well .... having biriyani for me, maybe a bit too much but nevertheless you get the picture. I don't know whether it was the heat of Delhi summer or the recipe.
It is from the book called 'Pure & Simple' by Vidhu Mittal. I have to add here she made me love vegetarian cuisine. It shocked my husband to see me pick up a vegetarian cook book but this was hard to resist. The recipes are simple and the visuals are really tempting. It has received a well deserved cookbook award as well.
This is Poornakala, my new apprentice cook who did a marvellous job with this recipe. My contribution is limited to instruction and photography in this case and as always to eating.
- Bottle gourd: 500 g peeled and cut into about 1" cubes
- Tomato: 2 nos grated, you can put a little more if you prefer tangier
- Ghee/ oil: 1 tsp
- Hing (asafoetida): 1 pinch. This spice is used as a digestive aid, in food as a condiment, and in pickles. It typically works as a flavor enhancer and If you are new to hing - a pinch is really enough. It is very strong and will make you sick if you use too much (speaking from experience unfortunately) so a pinch is a pinch, to be precise a two finger pinch.
- Jeera (cumin) seeds: 1/2 tsp
- Adrak (ginger): 2 tsp, chopped into small pieces.
- Haldi pwd (turmeric): 1/2 tsp
- Salt: to taste
- Dhania patta (coriander leaves): 2 tbsp chopped
- Green chilly: one chopped or a whole slit in half. Though chilly is not part of the original recipe but is a must for me.
- Water: 1 cup
Heat the ghee/ oil in the pressure cooker. Put all the ingredients except for tomato, dhania and chilly and stir for 30 seconds. Add the water and salt and pressure cook to one whistle and reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Open and add the tomato and cook further till your desired gravy thickness. It should be light. Add dhania and chilly if you prefer and serve hot with plain steamed rice. A perfect summer lunch.