A South Indian style Kantola fry recipe that will go well as a side dish for both rice and chapathis. Its also called as Kankoda or kakrol and by various other names across India. It’s called as spine gourd in English and my MIL said that is called as Akakarakaya in Telugu and yes its quite a mouthful. Though I had seen this seasonal gourd vegetable in markets, I always hesitated to buy it as I’ve neither tasted it nor cooked it before.
One fine day, my friend J dropped by home and gave me a bunch of pirandai to make thogayal for her and also some of this Kantolas.
Initially, I had no idea what to do with it but then when I washed it and tasted a slice of it to check how it tastes to get an idea to cook and to my surprise, I found that it tasted like more like kovakkai or Ivy gourd. I always thought it would be taste bitter since it looked more like the bittergourd itself.
It was more like a veggie rich in water content like cucumber and radish. So I made this delicious coconut based stir fry or curry to pair with rice for lunch and with chapathis for dinner. Both tasted good.
- Kantola or Spine gourds - 5 to 6
- Onion - 1
- Green chilies - 3
- Fresh grated coconut - 1/4 cup
- Fennel seeds - 1 tsp
- Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
- Garlic pods - 3
- Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
- Urad dal - 1 tsp
- Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
- Curry leaf - 1'sprig
- Salt - to taste
- Oil - 1 tsp
- Grind together coconut, fennel, cumin, garlic pods to a coarse paste without using water. Add 1/2 tsp water if needed.
- Wash and trim the ends of kantola. Slice them into thin roundels and keep aside. You can also cut them vertically.
- Heat a pan with oil. Add mustard seeds and let it splutter. Add urad dal and let it toast to golden brown for few seconds.
- Add finely chopped onions, curry leaves and cook till the onions turns pink.
- Add kantola roundels, ground paste, turmeric powder, salt and mix well.
- Sprinkle 1/8 cup water, mix and close the pan with lid. Cook over low flame for 5-7 mins.
- The stir fry should be done by now. Mix in between.
- In case if it's not cooked and appears and starts to stick to the bottom of the pan, sprinkle a little more water, mix and cook for 2-3 mins more.
- Serve hot with rice or chapathis.