Prawn and Snake Gourd Poriyal (Fry)

Tamilians include commonly available vegetables in non-vegetarian preparations to extend the dish and to add vitamins, minerals, and fibre to the diet. Prawns lend themselves to a variety of such combinations. Snake gourd (pudalankai) is a native vegetable easily grown in kitchen gardens and is mostly used in fries (poriyal) and dhal curry (kootu). With the highly priced prawn, the dish is elevated to a higher status, providing a most delicate and delicious combination of flavours.

Prawn and Snake Gourd Poriyal (Fry)

Prawn and Snake Gourd Poriyal (Fry)

The traditionally cultivated snake gourd is 3-4 feet in length and hangs from a 6-foot trellis and thus the name snake or serpent gourd. I have used the hybrid short variety which is very commonly available but looks more like a cucumber.

Hybrid Snake Gourd

Hybrid Snake Gourd


  • ¼ kg cleaned and deveined Prawns
  • 1 full-length or 4 small Snake Gourd (Pudalankai)
  • 1 large diced Onion
  • 12 small Garlic Cloves
  • 2 sprigs Curry Leaves
  • 6 Dry Chillies
  • ¼ tsp Cinnamon Powder
  • ½ tsp Aniseed Powder
  • 1 tsp Masala Powder (Chicken 65 or Tandoori Chicken)
  • 3 T Oil
  • 2 tsp Salt, or to taste


  1. Pare and remove the skin and pith of the snake gourd.
Paring the Snake Gourd

Paring the Snake Gourd

Removing the pith from the Snake Gourd

Removing the pith from the Snake Gourd

  1. Dice the gourd into small pieces.
Diced Snake Gourd

Diced Snake Gourd

  1. Cut the prawns into two if medium sized. Mix with ½ tsp salt and the chicken 65 or tandoori powder. Set aside for 30 minutes.
  2. Heat the oil in a non-stick skillet. Fry the prawns, a handful at a time. Drain and set aside.
Frying the Prawns

Frying the Prawns

Draining and removing the Prawns

Draining and removing the Prawns

  1. After all the prawns have been fried, add the garlic to the same oil and fry till almost brown.
  2. Add the dry chillies. Immediately add the onions and stir till they are translucent.
  3. Add the snake gourd, mix well, and allow to cook for a few minutes. Add the cinnamon and aniseed powders. Cover and continue to cook till done.
  4. Add the fried prawns and cook for a few minutes. Adjust salt.
  5. Add the curry leaves and stir before removing from heat.


Instead of snake gourd, Broad Beans or French Beans could be used. Cook the diced beans in a small amount of salted water as their moisture content is much lower than snake gourd (which stands at 95%).


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