Entries from April 16th, 2013

‘Thondekai Godambi Palya’, Tindora & Cashew Nut Stir-fry



‘Thondekai Godambi Palya’, Tindora and Cashew Nut Stir-fry


Those who know me well know that I am always in the kitchen cooking up a storm. There is never a day when there is no food at my place.  After any meal of the day, I always have enough to feed a few extra people! All my friends always ask me how I manage to have so much energy and enthusiasm in the kitchen. ‘Don’t you ever get tired of cooking?’ they ask… Guess what! I have 🙂


Tindora, Tindla, Ivy gourd, Thondekai, tondekai,


This doesn’t happen to me often but I have not been in a great mood to cook at all these days. Any recipe doesn’t sound good enough for me to drag my lazy self into the kitchen! Of course I am cooking all three meals a day. I can’t bring myself to feed my family take-aways and ready to eat stuff. But I haven’t been very enthusiastic about it. The other day when my husband asked me if we can make pizza for dinner, I actually told him ‘I don’t feel like!’ He almost had a heart attack! Normally I am the one to jump up in excitement and start making the dough in seconds.


Tindora, Tindla, Ivy gourd, Thondekai, tondekai,


Last week, throughout India, we celebrated Indian New Year (Yugadi, Ugadi, Gudi padva, Baisakhi, Thapna). We celebrate ‘Vishu’ (on April 14th) which is the first day of our calendar. I decided this would be the perfect reason to get my spirits up and cook a nice meal for my family. I really needed something to push me a little and get back to being my old self and ‘Vishu’ was the right reason!


Cashew Nuts or Godambi


‘Vishu’ is one of the very few festivals which was celebrated by us while growing up. I have very fond memories of this special day.  Of course food was one of the highlights! The most special dish on the menu of the day of the Vishu, had to be something made with ‘Beejabondu’ or ‘Tender Cashew Nuts’. These are not really the cashew nuts that you all know about… These are green tender cashew nuts which are plucked from the plant the same morning. They are still in the ‘vegetable’ stage I would say. They are fresh, crunchy and almost sweet. The green hard shell is cut open to reach the tender white cashew inside which are then boiled in water for a few minutes and drained. Typically on this special occasion, Tender Cashew nuts are used in a stir-fry along with Tindora or in a sweet pudding made with coconut milk and jiggery. They are normally cooked just once a year as this is the time when the tender cashews are in season. Soon after this they grow up and become the famous ‘Cashew Nuts’.


Whole Cashew nuts


Of course I couldn’t get my hands on tender cashews but I got the second best thing. This particular dried cashew that I have used here is a special variety (with the peel on) that’s used mainly just for cooking. My aunt gave this to me which was given to her by her friend’s mom (who is from Udupi). Unfortunately I don’t know where one can source them from but you can replace them with some regular good quality whole cashew nuts.


Cashew nuts


‘Thondekai Godambi Palya’, Tindora and Cashew Nut Stir-fry is a very simple recipe otherwise. There are the basic ‘Palya’ or the traditional South Indian stir-fry ingredients in it, complete with some freshly grated coconut. But the creamy, sweet and rich tastes of cashew nuts makes this dish very special. The combination of Tindora and Cashew nuts is very unique too.

I cooked this dish along with a bunch of other ‘Havyaka’ specialties on Vishu just for the sake of nostalgia. Hope you enjoy this dish as much as we do.



From what I know there is no other vegetable which is traditionally cooked with cashew nuts other than Tindora or Ivy gourd.

You can use frozen coconut instead of fresh coconut.


‘Thondekai Godambi Palya’, Tindora and Cashew Nut Stir-fry



  • 1 cup cashew nuts
  • 1 ½ cups Tindora or Ivy gourd
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • ½ tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp de-husked split black gram (urad dal)
  • 2 dry red chilies
  • salt to taste
  • ¼ cup freshly grated coconut


Wash the cashew nuts in clean water and soak them in 2 cups of warm water for a couple of hours. If you are using the ones with skin on, peel them when the skin turns soft. Drain and keep it aside.

Cut the Tindora into thin long slices.

Heat the oil in a big pan. Add the black mustard seeds and let it splutter. Now add the split black gram and fry till it turns golden brown. Break the dry red chilies into half and add it to the oil, reduce the flame and stir everything. Take care not to burn anything. Now add the cashew nuts and the tindora and toss for the oil to coat everything. Fry for a couple of minutes, add salt and ½ cup of water and mix everything well. Now cover and cook in low flame for 15 to 20 minutes. Some varieties of Tindora might take a little longer to cook. If it’s not cooked even after 15 minutes, add a little more water and continue to cook with the lid on. Make sure not to overcook the Tindora though. Both the Tindora and cashew nuts should be soft but slightly crunchy. Add the freshly grated coconut and fry for a couple of minutes till all the water dries up. Serve hot with rice.



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