Beerakaya (Telugu) also know as Ridge gourd or turiya in India which is commonly known as Chinese Okra in other countries (popular in Asia & Africa), is an easy to grow vegetable .Botanical name for this spongy vegetable is “Luffa Acutangula” or Loofah. This awesome vegetable is low in Saturated Fat, and Cholesterol, high in Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Zinc, Thiamin, Iron, Magnesium and Manganese. This versatile vegetable is mildly sweet in taste, which adds a new dimension to the vegetarian cuisine, but sometimes it does taste very bitter. So you might have to check the taste before cooking. Beerakaya is used a lot in Andhra cooking. .Either can be cooked with dal or even made into chutney & curries. Most common dishes made with beerakaya are (beerakaya with senagapappu, tomato, potatoes, stuffed with home made curry powder, onion masala), pappu (cooked with lentils), pachadi (very famous and favorite at my place) and also podi with the peels.
2 fresh beerakaya’s (clean and finely chopped)
2 broken dry red chillies
3-4 green chillies
1 tsp urad dal
½ tsp channa dal
½ tsp mustard seeds
Big pinch of methi seeds
Pinch of hing
Tamarind according to taste
Salt to taste
1 tsp oil
Fist full of coriander leaves
Heat ½ tsp oil in a small pan add urad dal, channa dal, dry chillies and fry till light golden brown, add mustard seeds, methi seeds and allow them to sputter. Add hing and turn of the heat. Keep stirring otherwise popu will burn.
Heat the reaming oil in a pan on medium-low heat and add chopped beerakaya cook till soft, keep stirring in the middle turn of heat and cool.
Grind popu, green chillies, tamarind, salt and cooked beerakaya (slightly chunky), adjust the seasoning, and add if anything needed at this point. Now add coriander leaves and pulse couple of times and shift the chutney into serving bowl.
We usually eat with rice; I love it as a spread on my bread. It tastes delicious and also as dip.
Notes and Tips
Ripened fruit will be good for making chutneys. Peel the ridges lightly and leave the skin for making chutney. In general beerakaya flesh is very tender and tastes delicious. You can even add fresh coconut.