Did you know that the botanical name of the Ridge Gourd/ Peerkangai/ Beera Kaya is actually Luffa Acutangula??? Awesome, coz I did`nt! And that the vegetable is the unripe form of the fruit itself? And the mature ripe fruits are used to make natural cleaning sponges??? That’s how the Loofah was born I guess. The Ridge Gourd was never used in my maternal home as a vagetable and I never even knew its existence. I have seen a couple of my friends use it in chutneys, thogayals, kootu and even pickles. I loved this version by Kaveri and adapted it to my own recipe for a regular thogayal.
A normal boring everyday meal can get totally zinged up by just adding a Thogayal/ Pachadi. Every time I make Keerai Molagootal or Pumpkin Molagootal , I love to spice things up with a Vendakkai Thayir Pachadi or a Sweet and Tangy Kathirikkai Pachadi. On lazy summer afternoons, just adding a couple tender mangoes or Maavadu to left overs, makes a comforting meal in itself! I always try to use vegetables in these thogayals as they add to the nutritive quotient at the same time almost rendering an effect equal to having Spicy Lemon Pickle etc. This is one of my husband`s absolute favorite and in recent days mine too. It`s the same formula just as in the Onion Thokku – saute the vegetable, slow roast dry ingredients in oil, throw in some tamarind for some zing, pulse, season!
1 Big Long Peerkangai / Ridge Gourd.
2 1/2 Tbsp Urad Dhal.
2 Red Chillies.
A small ball of tamarind.
1/3 Cup Coconut.
1/4 Tsp Hing.
1 handful Corriander Leaves.
Salt to taste.
1 Tsp Gingely Oil.
1 Tsp Mustard Seeds.
- Wash, peel and chop the ridgegourd in to cubes. Set aside.
- In a kadai add about 2 tsp oil and slow roast the urad dhal and red chillies until the dal turns a dull brown colour. Transfer to a mixer jar after it cools.
- In the same kadai, add the chopped ridge gourd and the tamarind and saute until cooked.
- Once the ridge gourd is cooked, add the salt else it will release water and reduce in volume.
- Pulse the dry roasted ingredients in the mixer for a couple turns.
- Add the cooked ridgegourd, tamarind, salt, coconut, corriander leaves and a little hing and pulse until smooth. You will not require water as the ridge gourd would be soft, but add a few drops if too dry.
- Transfer to a serving dish.
- Season in gingely oil with mustard seeds, curry leaves and hing and pour over the thogayal.
- Excellent accompaniment with Idlis or Dosa.
- Mix with hot rice with a dollop of gingely oil and enjoy Peerkangai Thogayal Sadam.