Tindora bataka nu shak is one of my most favorite–and most forgotten–dishes. Since I live in Portland, I only make it home to visit my parents a few times a year. I always have a list of dishes that I want them to make for me. This always includes my favorite dal and of course plenty of chai! Inevitably, on the plane ride back to Portland I think of all the dishes that I should have asked for and tindora bataka nu shak always comes to mind. I’m then filled with regret that I didn’t ask for the dish, put it on my mental list for next time, then the cycle starts all over again.
Tindora is the Gujarati word for ivy gourd–tiny little baby watermelon looking gourds that grow suspended on vines. They are the size of a thumb, vivid green, and have white stripes down the side. They are completely delicious and have a unique slightly bitter-slightly sweet flavor all their own. We actually eat them in their underripe state. As they begin to ripen, the flesh turns orange (there are a few orange fleshed ones in the photo below). When fully ripe, the whole gourd turns to a vivid pink-red. Ivy gourd can be hard to find in the US. In Portland, I’ve only ever seen them at the Indian grocery store. In Chicago, they were available at many stores that catered to a more international clientele. At the market, you may seem them called tindora, tendli, or ivy gourd. If you can’t find them, I experimented with some substitutes and think that zucchini works well. Zucchini, of course, doesn’t have the same unique flavor of tindora, but is still delicious.
This recipe is another classic version of a Gujarati “stir fry.” The tindora and potatoes are cooked separately but using the same steps. Asafetida, which adds a sweet garlic-onion flavor, is tempered in hot oil, then the vegetables are cooked until they are slightly tender but still a bit raw. The remainder of the spices are added in, and the vegetables are cooked until completely tender. At that point, the heat is raised and the vegetables are glazed with a bit of sugar. This dish is best served with some flat bread. Due to the slight sweetness, it would also be delicious with a fried egg or some pork. I hope you love this dish as much as I do, and now I’ll never forget about it!
Coriander Spiced Ivy Gourd with Potatoes ~ Tindora Bataka nu Shak
|Prep:||Cook:||Yield: serves 2 people as a main, 4 as a side||Total:|
Delicious ivy gourd and potatoes with plenty of spices and a slight sweetness. A Gujarati comfort food classic!
- 1 pound ivy gourd (tindora) quartered lengthwise, or 1 pound zucchini sliced into batons
- 1 pound russet potato, peeled and sliced into batons (about 2"x1/4"x1/4")
- 4 Tbsp oil, divided
- 1/4 tsp asafetida, divided
- 1 tsp Kashmiri red chili powder, divided
- 1/4 tsp turmeric, divided
- 1 tsp ground coriander seeds, divided
- 4 tsp sugar, divided
- Salt, to taste
- Cilantro to garnish
- Place the potatoes in a bowl of cold water.
- Heat up half of the oil in the bottom of a large wok over medium high until shimmering. Add half of the asafetida and allow to sizzle until aromatic.
- Add the tindora or zucchini and stirring well to thoroughly coat. Cover and cook, stirring regularly until slightly tender with some lingering crunch, about 3 minutes.
- Add a few pinches of salt and half of the remaining spices. Toss well to coat, and cook until tender, about 3 more minutes. Turn up the heat to high, add half of the sugar and toss until a shiny glaze forms.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tindora to a bowl, leaving as much flavorful oil behind as possible. Drain the potatoes and pat dry with paper towels.
- Repeat the above steps with the potatoes. The potatoes may take longer to cook than the tindora, but just follow cues from the potatoes for tenderness when deciding to move forward with each step. When potatoes are done, put tindora back in the pan, stir/mix together and allow them some cooking time together for flavors to mix. Remove to a bowl, garnish with cilantro and serve.
Goes wonderfully with Indian flat breads or rice. Would be a great side for pork or chicken. Would also be delicious under a fried egg with some crusty bread!