Sunday, February 23, 2014

Ghosale Upkari ( Ridge Gourd Stir-Fry).

Ghosale ( Ridge Gourd) is another one of my father-in-law's favorite vegetables. My mother-in-law teases my father-in-law with a small poem that she has made connecting the days of the week and his favorite vegetable to be cooked that day!

Ghosale aka Ridge gourd is also known as Luffa or Chinese okra. It has different names in different parts of India. It is known as Herekayi in Kannada, Adavi Beera in Telugu, Peechinga in Malyalam, Dodka in Marathi and Turai in Northern India and so on. You can find more here
This is another 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 too is one of my favorites for weeknight dinners.

Servings: 4 


Ghosale ( Ridge 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.
Freshly grated coconut: 1 tbsp ( optional).


With a paring knife/ peeler,peel the ridges off the Ridge gourd.

Cut the ridge gourd (poddale) lengthwise twice.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 ghosale( ridge gourd) and 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 / bread.

Cooking made easy:

Make sure you cook on low flame as you want the vegetable to cook in it's own juices. Increasing the flame, makes the fluid evaporate quickly thereby increasing the chances of burning your vegetable.

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.

In India, for the above recipe, you can add 1/2 to 1 cup of water as needed. You can also cook it in a pressure pan. If you are doing so, add 3/4 cup of water, cover and let it cook on medium flame with the pressure cooker weight on, until you hear 2 whistles from the cooker. Turn the flame off and weight for the cooker to cook down completely before opening the lid. This is the pressure cooker method for most vegetables to be cooked in India.

Cooking the vegetable in it's own juices also has the advantage that we don't lose much nutrients.

Tip for healthy living:

"Activity, activity, activity ", this is the mantra for healthy living. When you are physically active, you automatically burn calories. This is especially true for the elderly and retired people. When you work you automatically move, walk and get out of the house. Whereas after retirement, most people don't find the necessity to get out of the house. This significantly limits the amount of physical activity. You have to find reasons to get out of the house atleast once a day. Find stuff to do around the house.This will get your joints moving. The more active you are, the better you will be.

Food for thought:

To err is human; to forgive is divine.( Alexander Pope).