Kuvale ( Ash Gourd or Winter Melon) is one of my favorite vegetables. It is not only delicious, it is good for the body. It soothes the digestive system. Apart from Kuvale puli koddel, another common and popular dish made by konkani GSBs with this vegetable is kuvale sasam. It is a very simple and humble dish made by adding cooked ash gourd pieces to a sauce made by grinding together coconut, red chillies, tamarind and a few mustard seeds. The sauce should not be spicy.It is absolutely delicious. You can also eat it like a stew.
Ash gourd/Wintermelon/ kuvale: 1 lb slice.
Water: 1/2 cup + 1/2 cup for grinding.
Freshly grated coconut: 1 cup
Dried red chillies: 3 medium sized ones.
Tamarind: marble sized if dry; 1/8 tsp if using the pulp.
Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp+ 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves : 1 sprig
Coconut oil: 1 tsp
Cut the ash gourd/Wintermelon/kuvale into medium sized pieces. Add the pieces to a pot, add 1/2 cup water, 1/2 tsp salt and let it cook until tender ( usually takes around 10-15 mins).
In a blender/food processor/mixie, grind together freshly grated coconut, tamarind, dried red chillies to a fine paste. When the paste is almost done, add 1/2 tsp mustard seeds and pulse twice.
Add the ground paste to the cooked ash gourd/Wintermelon/kuvale. Mix well and bring it to a boil. Turn off the flame.
In a small frying pan, heat 1 tsp coconut oil. Add mustard seeds. When the seeds splutter, add curry leaves. Turn off the flame. Add this to the above pot.
Serve hot with rice/roti.
Cooking made easy:
Whenever you cook vegetables that have a high water content, make sure that you do not add too much water. Just add enough water so as to help the cooking process. Otherwise, the additional water given off by the vegetable will make your sauce too thin, watery and tasteless.
In case you do end up with a lot of water after cooking the Wintermelon , remove some of the liquid and keep aside before adding the ground paste. You can always add the reserved liquid to the pot depending on the preferred consistency of the sauce.
Tip for healthy living:
If you have a upset tummy, trying mixing a pinch of salt and hing ( asofoetida) into a cup of buttermilk and drinking it. This helps settle the tummy. ( This is not for people who are lactose intolerant)!
Food for thought:
The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn. Ralph Waldo Emerson