Meet the unsung hero of the vegetable world – the ridge gourd! This humble veggie may not get as much attention as its more famous cousins, but it’s packed with health benefits that are too good to miss. From reducing inflammation to aiding in weight loss, the benefits of ridge gourd are many. This versatile veggie is also a culinary powerhouse, with a flavour and texture that lend themselves to a wide variety of recipes. Keep reading for some amazing ridge gourd recipe ideas that are sure to impress!
The many names of ridge gourd
This versatile veggie goes by a variety of names across different languages and regions, from the Hindi “Turkiya” to the Bengali “Jhinge” to the Telugu “Beerakaya.” But that’s not all – ridge gourd is also known as “Sirola” in Gujarati, “Heerekayi” in Kannada, and “Dodka” in Marathi.
The ridge gourd has a distinct look in its green outer skin with ridges, but the flesh inside the gourd is soft spongy white with unnoticeable edible seeds. Another gourd resembles a zucchini and has smooth green skin.
The gourd with ridges is well-liked for its difference in texture which gives an amazing al dente crunch to the veggie making it delicious and joyfully crunchy.
When ripened this vegetable is a regular in our daily meals and can be enjoyed with both, roti or rice. It is bland to taste which works as this veggie can be mixed with any side dish to make it awesome.
Many South Indian dishes like sambar have torai in them making them a memorable dish to have. Ridge gourd is also favoured for Bengali dishes and is well-liked in Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand and such regions.
Ridge gourd is high in fibre and is a good source of vitamins C and A. It is good for those on a weight loss program. Packed with fibre, it is low in calories which works to reduce weight. This also makes it an excellent laxative and is known to reduce skin ailments. It is safe for diabetics to have this veggie. It purifies the blood and is also good for those who are suffering from jaundice.
The ridge gourd is a rich source of iron and manganese. It is anti-inflammatory and is high in beta-carotene and thus is known to enhance eye health. It boosts liver health and acts to detoxify the liver also protecting it from alcohol intoxication.
Ridge gourd juice is used to strengthen the immune system against any infection. It is good for the heart and combats free radicals to protect you from threatening diseases. It would be wise to include turai in your daily diet.
Here in India, it is grown in Bihar, Punjab, Delhi, U.P., Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana, and Jharkhand. They yield good results in hot climes and grow best in sandy loam soil. With a pH of 6-7, fertilizers applied to the soil with good drainage will give you quality ridge gourd.
Pave the way for some cook-up
Ridge gourd is best in tangy gravy dishes. Cut it and semi-boil it to use in raita. Season with chaat masala and other spices and that can be a dish in itself.
Do try ridge gourd upkari, a Konkani dish. Temper mustard seeds, methi seeds and kadi patta in oil. Once you get the fragrance, drop chopped turai in it. Add hing and salt to taste. Sprinkle a little water and close the vessel to let the dish cook in a dum. Dum cooking is always a healthier option as you need less oil and the veggie is cooked in its nutrients and aroma. Keep stirring off and on. If you want you can keep a Katori of water on the lid. Once done add grated coconut to the dish.
In the Gujarati dishes like panchkutyu shaak, we add grated coconut to their turai shaak. You can also add to any gravy dishes and make an iron-rich gravy dish!
Give yourself a lovely stuffed torai sabji. Saute dhania seeds, jeera, mustard seeds, and optional grated coconut. You can also go creative and mix the aromatic ginger-garlic paste. Mix it all and saute. Fill turai with this mixture. Now saute onion. Once pink add stuffed turai to it. You may sprinkle some amchoor or chaat masala and cook it for some sometime till it is soft but not too soft. Ensure that the al dente bite is not lost. Now you can enjoy it with roti, and maybe just by itself too.
Go Bengali with a tasty torai dish with amaranth shaag sabji. It is nutritious and packed with iron as this dish uses the leaves that come with the gourd. Here is another Bangla dish that you must have a go Narkel diye Jhinge (Ridge Gourd subzi with coconut). Packed with healthy sprouts, this tantalizing sabji is aromatic with an irresistible fragrance wafting through the house. The milk that will be added will give this dish the creamy consistency that will make this absolutely delectable. The garnish with dhania leaves and grated coconut is like a wow on the dish. Follow the recipe given below for the step-by-step recipe to make this dish for your family tonight.
If you dislike the bitter taste of the gourd, add salt as it draws out the bitter juices from it. Simply rub the sliced bits with salt and leave it for some time before cooking. Make chutney by adding tamarind and other seasonings to it. Yummy!
When buying turai choose a ridge gourd that is deep green, has taut skin, is firm to feel, and is free of soft spots. Their stems too should be green and fresh-looking.
The fibre in ripened sponge gourd is also used to make table mats. It is also used as a cleansing agent. The ridge gourd contains abundant water. It is also abundant in cellulose, a natural dietary fibre.