Thursday, January 30, 2014

Poddale ( snake gourd) upkari/ toran ( stir fry).

Poddale ( snake gourd) upkari/ toran ( stir fry).

My in-laws are simple, down-to-earth people. They are vegetarians. In India, being a vegetarian means they do eat vegetables and dairy. They do not eat anything that has eggs in it. Of course, vegetarians in India don't eat fish, chicken or any meat. Coming back to my in- laws,they have always inculcated a healthy lifestyle.One of the common vegetable that my mother-in-law makes is poddale ( snake gourd) upkari or stir- fry. She states that this is one of my father-in-laws favorite vegetables!

Poddale aka snake gourd has different names in different parts of India. It is known as paddavalakai in Kannada, padval in Marathi and so on. You can find more here
This is one of the vegetables that is gentle on the digestive system and can be safely eaten when one is sick or is on any kind of elimination diet. It also is known to have several medicinal values.

The stir fry is easy and quick to make and requires very few ingredients. This is one of my favorites for weeknight dinners.

Servings: 4


Poddale ( snake gourd) :2 medium sized.
Mustard: 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds ( jeera): 1/4 tsp
Green chillies: 1-2 (as per your spice level) ( I use one when I am making it for my little ones).
Coconut oil: 1 tsp. ( you can use any cooking oil of your preference, I use coconut oil in mine).
Jaggery(molasses)/ sugar:1 tsp
Salt to taste.
Fresh grated coconut: 1 tbsp ( optional).


Cut the snake gourd (poddale)lengthwise twice. Remove the seeds inside and keep aside.Then slice thinly horizontally so that you have 2 cms long thin slices and keep aside. Slit the green chillies and keep aside.

Heat a sauté pan/ wok on medium heat,add 1 tsp coconut oil. Now add the mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds splutter, add the cumin seeds, then the slit green chillies. Now add the sliced poddale ( snake gourd)& sauté.Add a little bit of salt and 1tsp sugar. Reduce the flame to low, cover the pan and cook until the vegetable is soft enough to eat. Generally takes about 15 minutes.

Garnish with freshly grated coconut. Serve with rice & rasam or dal.

Cooking made easy :

Vegetables in the US tend to have higher water content and hence do not require additional water to be added while cooking. But if you find the pan getting too hot or you are in danger of burning the vegetable
then you can sprinkle some water and let it cook to your desired level of softness. It should not be mushy.

Tip for healthy living:

How does one determine how many calories a person needs? This energy requirement is dependent on one's height, weight, age and activity level. As part of the online nutrition and health course I am currently undertaking on Coursera, I came across this wonderful website that helps you determine your calorie needs and help track your food and activity levels. It can also analyse your food and tell whether you meet your daily nutritional requirements.

Food for thought:

Treat others the way you would be like to be treated.