Snake Gourd with Coconut;
Trichosanthes cucumerina is the botanical name for Snake Gourd; know as pottalakaya (in Telugu). This variety produces green skin fruits with white stripes, long and curved that appears like snakes hanging on the supports of the ground. This narrow , soft-skinned fruit can grow up to 10-20 inches long, the flesh inside the fruit is soft, taste bland and has a moist and lightly sticky flesh and has an unique smell. This subtropical vine or tropical plant grows very fast in warm climates and produces lots of fruits, which are named for its strikingly long fruits when compared to other vegetables, are commonly used as a vegetable ( eat boiled or curried) and for medicinal purpose.Snake gourd (Pottalakaya) contains some amount of water, good amount of vitamins and carbohydrate. Young fruits are harvested and cooked. It is most popular in the cuisine of South Asia and Southeast Asia. The shoots, tendrils, and leaves are also eaten as greens. Pottalakaya is used a lot in South-Indian Cuisine (Andhra). This vegetable is used in making Koora (Curry), Pulusu (Stews) and Perugu pachadi (Yogurt chutney). Every family has their own recipe. Tender pottalakayya cooks very fast. Other names include serpent gourd, chichinga, and padwal. It is known as paduvalakaayi in Kannada and padavalanga in Malayalam.
2 medium pottalakaya
½ cup grated coconut (fresh)
2-3 green chillies
1-2 dried whole red chillies (broken)
1 tsp urad dal
½ tsp mustard seeds
1-1 ½ tsp oil
Salt to taste
Wash, clean slit and chop pottalakayya (1/2 inch). On medium low heat, add chopped vegetable and salt to a heavy bottom pan and put the lid. Sprinkle little water if needed and keep stirring in the middle. Cook until done (do not over cook, it should have the crunch when you bite). Drain well if any moisture left and keep aside.
Heat oil in a pan on medium heat, add urad dal, chillies once the dal starts turning golden brown add mustard seeds and allow them to crackle. Now add green chillies, curry leaves and coconut and sauté until the coconut turns light golden brown. Now add the cooked pottalakayya and mix well. Cook for another 3-5 minutes. Adjust the seasoning if needed. Turn of the heat and shift to serving bowl.
This is a dry dish. Serve with rice.
Notes and Tips.
If you don’t like the skin, slightly peel and then chop. Do not add too much of water while cooking, this will turn the dish soggy. You can use frozen coconut instead of fresh one. You can remove the seeds if you don’t like, but tender ones tastes very good.