Guide to Indian Grocery Store Vegetables: Ivy Gourd

Guide to Indian Grocery Store Vegetables: Ivy Gourd

దొండ కాయ / (Donda kaya) in Telugu
ತೊಂಡೆ ಕಾಯಿ / (Tonde Kayi) in Kannada
கோவை / (Kovai) in Tamil
കോവക്ക / (Kovakka) in Malayalam

Ivy gourd is also known as little gourd or perennial cucumber. This wild cousin of cucumber is crunchy, slightly sweet and tart, and a bit juicy in taste when eaten raw. It's got a ton of great medicinal properties! The fruit turns red from inside out. The ripe, scarlet fruit is fleshy, on the sweet side, and eaten raw. It can also be candied!

Here the raw fruit is cooked in a very simple way:

pound in a mortar and pestle, sautée in some ghee + a dash of sesame oil, add onions, ginger and garlic if you want to layer on more flavor, otherwise just a little sautée in Crispy Garlic PODI and Spicy Coconut PODI yields delicious results! Serve with rice, quinoa, or stir fry in some rice noodles!



More about this bountiful vegetable:

Its native range extends from Africa to Asia, including India, the Philippines, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, eastern Papua New Guinea, and the Northern Territories, Australia. Its documented introduced range includes the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Guam, Saipan, Hawaii, the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Tonga, and Vanuatu.

A true bounty of the tropics! 🌱🥒

Regarded as very invasive and on the Hawaii State Noxious Weed List, ivy gourd can grow up to four inches per day. It grows in dense blankets, shading other plants from sunlight and hijacking nutrients, effectively killing vegetation underneath. It was introduced to Hawaii as a backyard food crop and has attractive white flowers.

The fruit is commonly eaten in Indian cuisine. People of Indonesia and other Southeast Asian countries also consume the fruit and leaves. In Thai cuisine, it is one of the ingredients of the very popular clear soup dish kaeng jued tum lueng and some curries kaeng khae curry and kaeng lieng curry. It's also called Thai Spinach!

In India, the immature fruit is also used raw, preserving its crisp texture, to make a quick fresh pickle! 🥒