Indian Ivy Gourd (Tendli or Tendley in Konkani) is an integral part of the Konkani cuisine. It is widely cooked on occasions when the food is “Saatwik” (Vegetarian food completely devoid of any onion and garlic). However, this vegetable hasn’t been restricted to just that and is cooked with onions and garlic on a day to day basis in most households.
Traditionally, stir fry recipes are termed as “Upkari”. The vegetable is cut lengthwise or in rounds/cubes (depending upon the vegetable) and sautéed in oil with roasted red chilies, salt, mustard seeds and coconut. Second in line come the recipes known as “Talasani” or “Thalasan” where the basic ingredients are oil, roasted red chilies and salt. For Talasani a fourth ingredient – garlic or in some cases mustard seeds- is added again depending on the vegetable used and the household’s palette.
“Tendley Talasani” as the name implies is Ivy gourd cooked with the base ingredients along with garlic. The Ivy gourd is flattened out using a pestle, smeared with salt and allowed to sit for a while before it is actually cooked (The pestle is used just to mash the gourd enough so that it flattens and not squish it into a mass). This is done to ensure that salt is evenly distributed. Cutting off the ends for this recipe is purely optional and not mandatory. That said, I never cut off the ends of the gourd for this recipe and have not experienced any difference in taste with and without the ends.
3 cups unripe Ivy Gourd (The gourd must be not ripe and red. Only green ones are to be used for this recipe)
1½ tablespoons Oil (Any vegetable or canola oil. Olive oil is strong and masks the flavor of the recipe.)
3-4 roasted Red Chilies
1 cup finely diced Garlic
Salt to taste
1. Wash Ivy gourd and pat dry with a soft cloth.
2. Using a pestle flatten each gourd without breaking it apart, on a chopping board. When all gourds are flattened, add a teaspoon of salt and mix thoroughly and set aside for 10 minutes.
3. Heat oil in a skillet, add red chilies and garlic. Sauté well till garlic turns completely brown. This may take anywhere between 5-6 minutes.
4. Squeeze dry the gourd to strain all water and add it into the sautéed garlic. Make sure you turn the flame to low to avoid any splash. It’s best to throw in a handful of squeeze dried gourd at a time.
5. Mix well. Cook on medium-low flame, uncovered for 12-15 mins or till completely done. Stir occasionally to toss or turn any uncooked gourds.
6. Cooking is done when the Ivy gourds turn brown. Serve hot with dal and rice.
The reason I like this recipe is the aroma of sautéed garlic. To sauté the garlic completely I use finely diced garlic though the original recipe calls for halved garlic or partly mashed garlic. This is something I learnt from my Mom. I also use garlic in a larger quantity than what is generally used. The amount of oil used for the recipe varies and is purely a personal preference. I favor using less oil and increasing the cooking time to ensure that Ivy Gourd is evenly cooked and well done. I also go easy on the salt. So the only time I add salt is in Step 2. That said, additional salt can be added 5 minutes after the gourds are sautéed in the skillet. The time limit is to ensure that salt does not soften the gourds before sautéing.