Stuffed Ridge Gourd

Marathi recipe can be found here -

Last year a friend sent me packet full of different seeds she has collected over the years. She grows various vegetables in her backyard and has a very green thumb. I have seen pictures of the backyard once and its my dream to have my vegetable garden to look like hers! Last year I tried to grow ridge gourd seeds she sent. The vine grew nicely but it never yielded any fruits. All the flowers just fell off. I told my experience and she said it needs full sun all the time. Last summer was not so dry and hot so I blamed it on the weather. This year I planted cluster beans, okra seeds she has given me along with the ridge gourd seeds. She told me, the ridge gourd might not even grow as the seeds are more than a year old. I decided to give it a shot and planted around 10 seeds. I lost cluster beans, okra, water melon, musk melon plants and small fruits to humongous squirrels! They even ate all my cucumbers this year along with all the almonds, some nectarines and believe it or not, even Chinese eggplants! Only two vegetables survived were tomatoes and ridge gourds. I have gotten about 10-12 Ridge gourds so far this year as weather is beautiful. Soon it will start cooling down and my vines will start to die down. But I am happy with the fruits so far!

Ridge Gourds on the vine.
My mom makes stuffed ridge gourd bhaji which I love. It tastes much better with the vegetables grown in my own backyard. Here is the quick and easy recipe

2-3 Ridge Gourds
1/4 cup Roasted Peanut Powder
1/4 cup Roasted Thistle Seeds Powder *
1 tbsp Kanda Lasun Masala
1/4 cup Chopped Cilantro
1 tbsp Tamarind Pod
1 tbsp Jaggery
Salt per taste
Tempering - 1 tbsp Oil, Cumin seeds, Mustard Seeds, Hing, Curry leaves, Turmeric Powder
1-2 cup Water

Preparation - 
Wash the gourd and slightly peel the ridges. Chop off top and bottom.
Cut the gourd in 2" pieces. And carefully slit them like we slit stuffed eggplant.
Soak these pieces in lightly salted water for about 10-15 minutes.
Heat oil in heavy bottom pan, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and let them splutter.
Now add curry leaves, hing and turmeric powder.
Roast for few seconds.
Drain the water from gourd pieces and add the pieces to the tempering. Roast on medium heat for 4-5 minutes.
Add peanut powder, thistle seed powder, kanda lasun masala, salt and roast on low heat for another minute or so.
Add a cup of water, cover and let it boil.
Keep checking every few minutes until the gourd is half done.
Then add tamarind, jaggery and cilantro. Mix well, add water if necessary. Let it cook thoroughly and enjoy with chapati, jowar roti or rice.

Tips -

  1. You can make the sabji bit watery so you can enjoy it with rice. 
  2. Even though the name is stuffed ridge gourd, you really don't need to stuff them as the stuffing comes out while cooking. 
  3. Use Maharashtrian Goda Masala + Red Chili powder if you do not have Kanda Lasun Masala. Add couple of smashed garlic cloves in tempering. 
  4. * If you can not find Thistle Seeds, simply increase quantity of peanut powder or add toasted sesame seed  powder.

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