Stuffed vegetables are prepared commonly all over India, with variations and Andhra cuisine is no exception. Eggplants / brinjal, bitter gourd and tindora / ivy gourd are the commonly used vegetables in the state, when it comes to stuffed preparations. They are usually called gutti koora or kaaram pettina koora or karapu kaaya. In fact, gutti vankaya, a stuffed preparation of eggplants filled with delicious and flavorful spice and bean powder is one of the popular dishes from the state. For today's recipe, I chose to go with a stuffed preparation using ivy gourd or dondakaaya as it is called in Telugu. The process appears a little tedious though it is not that difficult to prepare it and the yummy curry proves that it is worth the efforts and time involved. This goes as a side dish for rice when served as a part of south Indian meal.
The alphabet 'D' doesn't give as many options as it's preceding alphabets when it comes to recipes starting with that letter in Telugu. There are basically two vegetables in Telugu language that start with that letter. Dondakaaya, the ivy gourd / tindora and the dosakaya, the plump, yellow cucumbers that are slightly sour. As is the norm, those vegetables are used to prepare chutney / pickle, curries and dals. 'D' also stands for draksha (grapes), danimma (pomegranate) and dabbakaaya / dabba pandu (a citrus variety, that can be loosely translated as a pummelo) among the fruits, only the latter being used in a rice preparation. There are spices dalchini chekka (cinnamon) and dhaniyalu (coriander seeds) which don't yield any recipes.
Among the dishes, there is dappalam which happens to be a signature Andhra dish, where a medley of vegetables are cooked in a sweet and sour gravy. The letter 'D' also represents dibba rotte, a dense pancake prepared with rice - black gram batter and again unique to the region. And daddhojanam aka yogurt rice that is common to all southern parts of India.
My mother uses either koora podi or senaga pindi (chickpea flour) for stuffing while my mother in law used to use the pappula podi, (ground roasted chickpeas) which is found commonly in Rayalaseema kitchens. There are various fillings that can be used to stuff in the vegetables depending upon one's preference. For today's recipe, I have used a spicy, chickpea flour filling. My mother roasts the filling mixture at the end, until it is dark golden brown in color or it resembles almost like a burnt mixture though she doesn't let it burn. It has a unique, flavorful taste and that powder can alone be eaten mixed with rice and ghee. I have failed so far to achieve that effect and have given up the idea. I instead roast the remaining filling mixture separately in another pan adding a tsp. of oil until golden brown while the stuffed gourds are cooking separately. I add the fried filling mixture to the cooked gourds at the final stage.
25 ivy gourds / tindora / dondakaaya
1 cup besan / chickpea flour / senaga pindi
1.5 tsp. chili powder or as per taste
Salt to taste
2 to 3 tbsp. oil
* Sieve the chickpea flour into a bowl. Add salt and chili powder to the bowl and mix well. Chickpea flour can be toasted as well before stuffing though the step is optional.
* If possible pick lengthy gourds if you are planning to stuff since more filling can go inside the vegetable that way. Wash the gourds and wipe them dry. Trim the edges slightly and cut them marking a + slit and go almost to the ends with keeping one end intact. Don't use the gourds that have ripened and appear red inside.
* Stuff the gourds with the prepared filling. Keep the remaining filling aside since it is going to be used later in the recipe.
* Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a wide non stick pan and place the stuffed gourds without crowding. Cook on low flame, covered. Keep turning in between and cook until they are cooked and roasted golden brown through out.
* Transfer the roasted gourds onto a plate and to the same pan add the remaining filling mixture and add a tsp or two of oil if needed. Roast until the raw smell is gone or until it turns a dark golden brown color.
So far on A - Z Andhra Cuisine,
A for Alasanda Vada
B for Bellam Garelu
C for Chiyali
Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 63