You never saw that one coming, did you? Well, it’s time you met the most nutritive part of the ridge gourd: the ridge gourd peel. The inside of the vegetable may sometimes be bitter but not the peel, making it ideal for this lovely fragrant ridge gourd peel chutney. The lovely texture (hard bits of lentils, crunchy ridge gourd peel bits and mushy onion) bursts with a heady amalgamation of flavours: sweet, sour, chilly, salt (much like scotch) on your tongue making you quickly grab spoonful after spoonful of this peerkangai thol thuvayal.
We use the vegetable before it matures, as when it does mature it is inedible, and is used to make loofah sponges. You didn’t see that one coming either? Neither did I. Rich in nutrients, antioxidants and of course fibre, ridge gourd features prominently in Indian and Asian cooking. I’ll post a recipe that uses the vegetable soon; today our hero is the peel.
The peel when sautéd in oil and seasoned with salt and pepper (or red chilly powder) makes for a yummy crumbly mixture to be sprinkled over salad or rice and dal. We’re adding more depth and flavour to this basic fried peel recipe. The ridge gourd peel chutney or the peerkangai thol thuvayal pairs well with hot rice (with a little ghee) and ragi ball, or you could eat it with this quick finger millet wheat dosa or dosa and idli. It can also be eaten as a side with lemon rice, curd rice, tomato rice or pongal.
I learnt his incredible peerkangai thol thuvayal from my mother; she makes it every time we have ridge gourd at home, and I miss it so! She learnt it from my Ammachi (grandmother) in turn. Do follow the steps carefully to get the thuvayal right — like grinding the fried black gram lentils first. I hope you learn to love it like I do, and if you do make it, do not forget to share the love on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #notjustspice.
Ridge Gourd Peel Chutney | Peerkangai Thol Thuvayal | Heerekai Sippe Chutney
Ridge Gourd, 2 small ones (almost a foot each) or one big one (1.5 to 2 feet) — you’ll need only the peel here; peel about 2-3 mm of the peel
6-8 cloves of garlic (the small kind; if you’re using bigger ones, 5 will do)
5 dried red chillies
1 large onion
3 tablespoons split black lentils (urad dal)
A ball of tamarind that is 2 cm (3/4 of an inch) in diameter, soaked in 1/2 cup hot water for 10-15 minutes
1/4 teaspoon jaggery
3 tablespoons sesame oil (gingelly oil), or olive oil or groundnut oil
3/4 teaspoon salt (add more if desired)
- Wash the ridge gourd(s) thoroughly before you peel the skin.
- In a skillet or wok or kadai, fry the peel in oil.
- When it turn light green and gold at the edge, drain and remove.
- To the same oil add the garlic, red chillies and onions and fry until the onion turn light pink. Drain and remove. Reserve a piece of red chilly and ridge gourd peel, chop them up fine — to garnish.
- To the same pan, add the split black lentils and fry until then turn slightly golden.
- When the lentils have cooled, grind them in a mixer grinder. You’re grinding them first, so that they grind to a smooth consistency — whe you add all the ingredients together, they don’t blend as well.
- When ground, add to it the rest of the ingredients: salt, ridge gourd peel, jaggery, garlic, onion, tamarind juice, red chillies, and onion, and blend until smooth or almost smooth (I love the almost smooth texture). Done!
Serving: Serve warm or at room temperature with ragi ball or this quick finger millet wheat dosa or dosas and idlis. It can even be eaten with rice (and a dash of ghee). It can also be served as a side with pongal or lemon rice.
Notes: You can even cut the ridge gourd peel real small, fry it in a little oil, add some salt and red chilli powder for an instant crumbly mixture to eat with you rice and dal, or sprinkle over your salad.
Black gram (Wikipedia)
Urad Dal (Tarla Dalal)
5 Delicious Ridge Gourd (Turai) Recipes: More than Just Fritters (NDTV Smart Cooky)
Health Benefits of Ridge Gourd (MeD India)
Why gur is not glamorous for Indians (The Economic Times)