Stuffing snake gourd with minced meat is a specialty in Tamil Nadu. There are various ways of cooking it. I found this recipe in a handwritten recipe book compiled by my mother. She called it Snake Gourd Cutlet. Snake gourd has a neutral taste like several other gourds (except the bitter gourd). Its shape lends itself to being stuffed with meat or even other vegetables, though I haven’t come across any preparation where snake gourd was stuffed with vegetables. It is a wonderful way of combining a vegetable with meat and the preparation itself is festive and is often served to guests.
The long native snake gourd is becoming a rarity in the high end stores, replaced by the short hybrid variety. Though both taste similar, the native variety has more fibre than the hybrid. The long variety allows you to have many cutlets with the longer 5 cm length, while the hybrid variety will have very few long cutlets and many short ones.
Snake gourd itself is very low in nutrients. Thus the protein and energy of this preparation come from the minced meat, egg and the very small amount of oil and ghee used for frying. Therefore, though it is an exotic preparation it is not a high energy preparation and can be safely tucked in by those who are on a weight reducing diet.
- 500 g Minced Meat (Mutton or Beef)
- 1 long Snake Gourd (about 1.5 M) or 4 short hybrid ones
- 2 medium Onions, diced
- 3 cm piece Ginger, minced or grated
- 4 Green Chillies, deseeded and minced
- 1 C Coriander Leaves, chopped
- 1 ½ tsp Sombu (Aniseed) Powder
- 1 tsp Kashmiri Chillie Powder
- ¼ tsp Turmeric Powder
- 2 Eggs
- ½ C Soft Breadcrumbs
- 2 T Vegetable Oil
- 1 T Ghee (Clarified Butter)
- 1 C Water
- Salt to taste
- Pressure cook the minced meat with 2 tsp diced onion, sombu powder, turmeric powder, and salt to taste.
- Cool the mince. Drain. Grind in a mixie or a blender to get a smooth texture. Freeze the stock for use at a later date.
- Heat the ghee in a non stick kadai or wok. Add the rest of the diced onion, ginger, green chillies, and coriander leaves. Fry till the onions are transclucent.
- Add the minced meat. Mix well. Fry till it is dry.
- Pare the gourd. Cut into 5 cm pieces. Remove the pith. (See the Prawn and Snake Gourd Poriyal recipe for details on paring and removing the pith from snake gourd.)
- Cook the gourd in 1 C of water to which chillie powder and 1 tsp of salt are added
- Drain the gourd and discard the water.
- Stuff the gourd with the mince, leaving ½ cm at both ends.
- Plug both ends with breadcrumbs.
- Beat the eggs with ½ tsp salt.
- Dip the ends of the stuffed gourd in the egg.
- Shallow fry in the vegetable oil.
- If using minced mutton, ½ C coriander leaves will be sufficient.
- I deseed the chillies before mincing to reduce the heat from the chillies.