My 76th recipe, “Kovakkai Fry”, a simple and my most favorite side. I would like to start with a small flash back of mine here. Until my fourth grade, I had never tasted Kovakkai. I have seen them in market while accompanying my mom for shopping, but she never bought it.
In my fifth grade, one of my classmates brought this awesome Kovakkai fry for lunch. When her lunch box came to my hand in the turn of sharing, the first bite of this spicy, crispy kovakkai fry made me fall in love with it. Yes, it was a very long time ago but I can still remember my first taste of this classic dish.
Immediately, I asked her to get the recipe from her mom in written the next day. When I then passed on that recipe to my mom, she was very much surprised, as kids of that age generally say a big NO NO to veggies. The next day when she packed it for my lunch, I had this fry as main dish instead of rice. And, ever since I would always force her to buy kovakkai for this recipe whenever I go shopping with her.
Even the shop keeper became familiar about my love towards kovakkai and he himself would pack kovakkai for me even though mom never asked for it 😉 Such is my love towards kovakkai and this wonderful recipe, which continues till date.
Learn how to make a simple, delicious and crisp Indian Kovakkai fry. Kovakkai Varuval is the perfect side for many south Indian rice dishes.
- Kovakkai - 3 Cups Ivy Gourd
- Sambar Powder - 2 tsp or 1 1/2 tsp Red Chilli powder + 1/2 tsp Coriander powder
- Salt - 1/2 tsp
- Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
- Oil - 1 Tbsp
- Mustard - 1/2 tsp
- Broken Urad Dal - 1 Tbsp
- Jeera - 1/2 tsp
- First chop off the edges of the kovakkai. Then chop it into circular pieces of 2-3 mm thickness as shown in picture.
- Heat oil in a pan, add the mustard. Once it splutters, add the other ingredients under "To Temper", in the given order. Once the broken urad dal turns golden brown, add the chopped kovakkai.
- Saute the kovakkai for 2 mins. Then, add the salt, turmeric and sambar powder. Mix nicely. Add about 1 Cup of water and cook covered in medium flame until the water evaporates.
- The kovakkai would be cooked and the raw smell of the masalas would be gone by now. Increase the flame back to high and saute for 3-4 mins, until the edges of the kovakkai turn nicely golden brown and slightly crisp up. Turn off the flame.
- Enjoy hot as a side for rice and south Indian gravy.
- The Kovakkai should be firm to touch. If it is soft or if the inside is orange/red in color, it means the kovakkai has ripened. Discard such kovakkai.
- Don't chop the kovakkai too thick or thin. They will not get the nice crispy texture.
Submitted this recipe to Remmy’s Kitchen First blog anniversary celebration and giveaway.