Southe Munchi: A Delicious Coastal Dish From Mangaluru

A versatile vegetable, Mangalore cucumber can be used in a variety of dishes. The vegetable is used to make Southe Munchi, a delicious traditional dish. In Tulu language, the words ‘munchi’ and ‘pepper’ are synonymous. This dish is created with sambar cucumber, also known as Southe Kai, which is found in abundance across South India. It is a popular vegetable in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka.

Kannadigas refer to it as Mangalore southekayi or thouthe. It is a vegetable that is commonly stir-fried to create a palya or vegetable side dish. It is also used to produce tangy curries. In Andhra Pradesh, the yellowish gourd is called dosakaya. It is added to tuvar dal in a meal, called Dosakaya Pappu, to lend weight and nutritional value. Dosavakaya is a spicy pickle that is also prepared from it.

In Tamil Nadu, the vegetable is known as Madras cucumber. Madras cucumber or Mangalore cucumber, like all other cucumber cultivars, are a great source of fibre. While other varieties of cucumber are eaten raw, Mangalore cucumber or Madras cucumber is always eaten cooked. They are a good source of antioxidants, which slow down the ageing process and are also high in Vitamin A, C, E, and K. 

Rich in antioxidants and minerals including magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium, it helps guard the cells from oxidative harm. Cucumbers are commonly ingested during hot summers to lower the body’s internal temperature and to calm the throat and stomach. The cucumber has a mild flavour that agrees with many ingredients and adapts well.

It is a member of the Cucurbita genus and is also known as Mogem in Konkani, Indian Yellow Cucumber, or Field Marrow. The fruit, which has gorgeous yellow and green stripes. William Aiton’s Hortus Kewensis or A Catalogue of the Plants Cultivated in the Royal Botanic Garden at Kew (1789) will have you believe that the Scottish botanist and father of Indian botany William Roxburgh brought this cucumber to India’s east coast but several locals are dismissive of it. They say that the vegetable was mentioned in the local literature much before the Britishers arrived. 

Just like the vegetable, the dish is also known by several names like Mangalore Southekai curry, Thouthe Kodel and has many versions. Some households make it with toor dal, byadgi chillies, coconut, garlic and onion. 


  • 1 Mangalore cucumber
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder 
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • Lemon-sized tamarind 
  • 2 tsp jaggery

For the powder: 

  • 1 tsp cumin seeds 
  • 1 tsp black pepper

For tempering:

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds 
  • ½ tsp white lentils 
  • A few curry leaves
  • 2 red chillies (broken) 


  • Take 1 Mangalore cucumber. Cut into half and make pieces. Remove the seeds and peel off. 
  • Grate the cucumber finely. 
  • Transfer to a pan, pour in some water and cook it for some time.
  • Add ¼ tsp turmeric powder, lemon-sized soaked tamarind, 2 tsp jaggery, 1 tsp salt and mix well. Let it cook. 
  • Take 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp black peppercorn and crush them coarsely. 
  • Take that coarse powder and add it to the Mangalore cucumber. Let it cook for a few minutes. 
  • In 1 tbsp of oil, add ½ tsp mustard seeds, ½ tsp white lentils, few curry leaves and red chillies (broken), ½ tsp of hing. Let it crackle.

Temper Mangalore cucumber curry with it. Serve with rice.