Anybody who goes produce shopping understands the disappointment one goes through when we end up with vegetables or fruits which have passed their prime. You know the frustration we feel when the strawberry we buy is sour and hard instead of being juicy and sweet or the green beans are fibrous and overgrown instead of being crisp and tender.
For those who are not familiar with Thondekai/Tindora/Ivy gourd, it’s a vegetable, which tastes best when it’s young and green which results in crisp, sweet taste when lightly cooked in stir-fries and curries. Sometimes, they look bright green and promising from the outside and you bring a big bag of it from the market only to realize that they are soft and red inside. These are the Thondekai or Tindora, which are ‘ripe’.
Most people would just throw away red or ripe tindora without thinking twice but that’s exactly the opposite of what I do. I almost never feel sad about my Tindora not being young like it should have been, because I know it’s the best reason for me to make ‘Thondekai Gojju’.
Gojju is a popular south Indian side dish/accompaniment which is often sweet, sour and spicy at the same time. There are several Gojju recipes using all kinds of fruits and vegetables. This gojju can be made with young green tindora also but the soft ripe ones strangely taste a little better. My mom never really threw out veggies unless they were rotten and had innovative ways to use them in special recipes. I am proud to continue this family tradition.
Next time when you have some overripe thondekai or tndora you know what to do with it!
You can make the same gojju with tender green tindora too.
To make the tamarind pulp, soak the dry tamarind in warm water for 10 minutes and extract just the thick plup discarding all the fiber.
You can increase or decrease the amount of jaggery added depending on how sweet you want it to be. I like my gojju more sour and less sweet. Taste it as you make and decide what you enjoy.
This gojju is normally made spicy but feel free to decrease the number of chilies if you want.
- Ripe tindora – 250 grams
- Tamarind plulp – 2 tbsp
- 1 tbsp jaggery
- salt to taste
- Coconut oil – 2 tbsp
- Garlic – 8-10 cloves
- Finely chopped onion – ¼ cup
- Finely chopped green chilies – 6
- Dry red chilies – 2
- Black mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Clean and cut the tindoras into halves. Cook them till soft with about ½ cup of water and some salt to taste. I used a pressure cooker here. Let it cool completely.
When it comes to room temperature, roughly mash the tindoras (along wth the water it’s cooked in) with your hands. It doesn’t really need to be a fine paste so keep the pieces chunky. Add the tamarind pulp and the jaggery. Add sat to taste and adjust the sweet and sour flavours as needed.
Heat the oil in a little pan and add the black mustard seeds. When it starts to splutter, add dry red chilies. Add the roughly chopped garlic after a few seconds and fry till it turns light golden. Now add the green chilies and fry for a couple of minutes. Add the finely chopped onion and turn off the flame. Mix everything well and add it to the gojju.
Serve the gojju at room temperature. It tastes best with hot rice.