Pudalankai Thuvaram (Snake Gourd Fry)

Thuvaram is a kind of a fry or poriyal which is popular in the southern districts of Tamil Nadu. There are 2 varieties of thuvaram: one uses the vegetable and very few seasonings; the other includes a small amount of red gram dhal and coconut ground with garlic and cumin seeds. Pudalankai (Podalankai/Podalangai) or snake gourd is suitable for the first type. Later on I’ll be posting the second variety also.

Pudalankai Thuvaram - Kalas Kalai

Pudalankai Thuvaram (Snake Gourd Fry)

Pudalankai is available in both long and short varieties. The long variety is the original while the short vegetable is the new/hybrid variety. I have used the short variety for this recipe, though either can be used. The short variety is easier to bring home from the shops 🙂

Long Snake Gourd - Kalas Kalai

I’m holding the long, native snake gourd. The short native variety is seen behind me in the background

Nutritive Value

Pudalankai is very low in nutrients; only the fibre content is substantial at 2.9g per 100g of the vegetable. The total carotene content is only about 120µg but in spite of this low nutritive value, pudalankai is a popular vegetable. The nutritive value of this dish is provided only by the additional ingredients such as the oil and coconut scrapings. Therefore it is a low calorie dish and an ideal preparation to be included in the diet of weight watchers.

Ingredients

  • 1 long variety or 4-5 short variety Pudalankai (Snake Gourd)
  • 1 medium Onion, diced
  • 2 T Coconut scrapings
  • 4 Dry Red Chillies
  • ¼ tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 4 tsp flavourless Vegetable Oil
  • 2 sprigs Curry Leaves
  • 1 ½ tsp Salt, or to taste

Method

  1. Pare the gourd, remove the pith, and cut into small pieces. See Prawn and Snake Gourd Poriyal (Fry) for details.
  2. Heat the oil in a kadai or wok.
  3. Add the mustard seeds. When they crackle, add the dry chillies and onion. Fry till the onion is translucent.
  4. Add the chopped gourd and stir. Lower heat and cook till tender but firm (al dente).
  5. Add salt and continue till the water has evaporated.
  6. Add the coconut scrapings and curry leaves. Stir once and remove from heat.

Notes

  1. The short variety of snake gourd has firmer flesh compared to the long. It may require 1-2 tablespoons of water while cooking.
  2. Do not brown the onion or the snake gourd. It will lose its fresh flavour.
  3. I use sunflower oil supplemented with rice bran oil for its neutral flavour and cholesterol lowering properties.
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