Juice To Curry: Try Out 6 Amazing Dishes Made From Ash Gourd
Image Credit: Ash Gourd | Image Credit: Google.com

Ash gourd, also known by a wide range of names such as winter melon, white gourd, or winter squash, is a unique and fascinating cucurbit belonging to the gourd family, Cucurbitaceae. This fruit is cultivated in various regions of Asia, including India, China, and Southeast Asia. In India, Ash gourd is popularly known as ‘Petha’ and is especially famous in North India, where it is used to make a sweet delicacy called ‘Petha.’ It is also considered auspicious and is used in certain rituals and festivals. 

Ash Gourd is highly nutritious, making it a valuable addition to an individual's diet. The fruit is low in calories and fat, making it an ideal choice for those seeking weight management. It is rich in essential vitamins, including vitamins A, C, and B-complex vitamins like thiamine, niacin, and riboflavin. Additionally, Ash Gourd is a good source of important minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium, which are vital for maintaining bone health and supporting various physiological functions. 

The fruit contains a high level of water, which makes it hydrating and contributes to maintaining overall hydration levels in the body. The gourd's dietary fibre aids digestion, promoting a healthy gut and supporting regular bowel movements. Furthermore, it contains antioxidants that protect the body from free radical damage, reducing the risk of chronic diseases and promoting overall well-being. 

However, one of the most compelling aspects of the Ash Gourd is its culinary versatility. It can be prepared and enjoyed in numerous ways, each showcasing its unique taste and texture. We have compiled a list of dishes prepared by Ash Gourd. Take a look: 

  • Juice  

This is made by extracting the juice from the fruit. It is a refreshing and nutritious beverage that offers a wide range of health benefits. This juice is known for its cooling properties, making it an excellent choice to beat the summer heat and stay hydrated. It can be made by peeling the fruit, de-seeding it, and cutting it into small pieces. Blend the pieces until smooth and strain them into a glass. Flavour it by adding some lemon juice, a pinch of salt, and black pepper. 

  • Kumbalanga Thoran   

It is a traditional and flavorful South Indian dish made with finely chopped ash gourd, grated coconut, and a delightful blend of aromatic spices. To prepare this dish, wash, peel, and de-seed the melon. Chop it into pieces and heat coconut oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds, and after they crackle, add cumin seeds. Once the cumin sizzles, add the sliced onions and sauté on low heat until transparent. Add curry leaves, followed by chopped chillies and melon. Season with turmeric and salt. Garnish the dish with grated coconut. 

  • Smoothie  

This is a delightful and unique beverage that is refreshing as well as healthy. To make this smoothie, the fruit is peeled, de-seeded, and blended with other complementary ingredients such as ripe bananas, Greek yoghurt, a splash of lime juice, and a touch of honey for sweetness. For added crunch, you can add chia seeds or pumpkin seeds. 

  • Safed Petha Raita 

Ash gourd raita, also known as safed petha raita in Hindi, is a delightful and cooling yoghurt-based condiment that pairs perfectly with a variety of Indian dishes. To prepare this, grate the Ash gourd and cook for a few minutes on a high flame. Make a paste of pieces of coconut, cumin seeds, green chillies, and water. Mix the paste with cooked Ash gourd pieces and yoghurt. Temper with mustard, urad dal, curry leaves, and hing in a tablespoon of oil. Add this as a topping to the yoghurt and ash gourd mixture. Your raita is ready. 

  • Halwa   

Ash gourd halwa, also known as "Kumbalanga Halwa" or "Petha Halwa," is a luscious and cherished dessert that hails from Indian cuisine. This is made by grating the fruit and cooking it in a pan until the water evaporates. To it, add a cup of jaggery powder and a few strands of saffron. Stir until the mixture thickens. Add a generous amount of ghee along with almonds and cashews. Remove from the flame, sprinkle some cardamom powder, and add raisins. 

  • Poosanikai Kuzambhu   

Ash gourd curry, also known as poosanikai kuzambhu in Tamil, is a flavourful and comforting dish that is prepared by peeling, de-seeding, and cutting Ash gourd into cubes. It is then cooked with an array of aromatic spices like cumin, mustard seeds, fenugreek, turmeric, and dried red chillies. Tamarind pulp or raw mango is often added to lend a tangy flavour to the curry, balancing the mild sweetness of the ash gourd. Freshly grated coconut and curry leaves contribute to the dish's richness and complexity.