A lot of people don’t love eating sponge gourd because the vegetable is soft and turns mushy when cooked. But, with these Indian regional recipes, eating sponge gourd will become quite the delight. Here is how to use flavours from states like Kerala and Odisha to give sponge gourd a yummy makeover.
Summer in India isn’t just about mangoes but also about certain vegetables that come into season. One entire class of these summer vegetables is gourd, and Indians love to indulge in everything from bitter gourd and ridge gourd to bottle gourd and pointed gourd during summers. However, when it comes to sponge gourd, Indians are usually divided over the soft vegetable. This is primarily because sponge gourd, when cooked, is much mushier than other gourds.
And yet, sponge gourd is known to be delicious and packed with plenty of nutrients. Sponge gourd has a high water content, which can help keep you hydrated during hot summer months. Consuming sponge gourd is believed to have a cooling effect on the body, which can be beneficial during the summer when temperatures are high. It is often included in traditional cooling summer recipes and beverages. The dietary fiber content in sponge gourd can support healthy digestion by promoting regular bowel movements and preventing constipation.
Sponge gourd is low in calories and a good source of essential nutrients such as dietary fiber, vitamins (including vitamin C, vitamin A, and some B vitamins), minerals (such as potassium, calcium, and iron), and antioxidants. Some traditional practices and anecdotal evidence suggest that sponge gourd can have benefits for the skin. It is believed to help improve skin health, reduce acne and blemishes, and promote a healthy complexion.
So, eating sponge gourd in summers is a great idea from the health perspective. From the taste perspective, there are plenty of dishes from India’s regional cuisines that cook sponge gourd in such an amazing way that the veggie turns into a delicacy you must have. Wondering what these dishes are? Here is a closer look at seven sponge gourd dishes from around the country that transform the humble veggie into a delectable delicacy.
Video Credit: YouTube/Chef Ranveer Brar
Turai Ki Sabji
This Punjabi staple is spicy, slightly tangy thanks to the tomatoes and goes perfectly well with rotis and parathas. Onions, tomatoes, ginger garlic paste and plenty of powdered spices are used to cook up this simple yet delicious curry that can be cooked up in half an hour.
Originating in the state of Bihar, Nenua Chana is also a popular dish in Uttar Pradesh. This dish is made with black chickpeas, which add a little crunch to the soft sponge gourd dish. The spices used in this one are usually mild.
You might have tasted bharwa bhindi and lauki, but have you tried this stuffed sponge gourd recipe from Kashmir? Bharwa Gilki is made by first preparing a peanut and spice paste, which is stuffed into cut sponge gourds and cooked. The dish is quite spicy.
This special recipe from Maharashtra is very mildly spiced and packed with the flavours of coconut. This Ghosalyachi Bhaji is made with chopped sponge gourd tossed in coconut oil, mustard seeds, asafoetida, salt, jaggery and freshly grated coconuts.
This simple yet delicious recipe from Kerala is cooked with coconut, green chillies, curry leaves, and other traditional spices from the region. Usually, the vegetables for a thoran are chopped into small pieces, but with the easy-to-cook sponge gourd, this is not necessary. The dish tastes delicious with rice.
Originating in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Beerakaya Curry is a simple dish prepared with sponge gourd, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves and powdered spices. Slightly spicy and paired perfectly with both rice and chapatis, this Andhra-style curry is a delicacy indeed.
Quite like its Bengali counterpart, Jahni Posta is an Odia dish that is made using sponge gourd and a poppy seeds paste. Often, potatoes are also added to the dish. Mildly spiced with green chillies, this simple dish tastes great with rice.