Turai is the ridge gourd that is a summer squash in India. In southern India this gourd is available for a longer duration as there is lesser marked winter over there. Another common gourd in summers is the sponge gourd (nenua or chikni turai) that has a smooth skin and a little different flavour, another gourd that I found recently is called Ramturai which looks a bit stout and is heavier than these tow. We really have a great variety of gourds in India.
I prefer eating loads of gourds during summer as these watery vegetables are good for this season. The simpler way of cooking these gourds is along with sliced onions or radish slices or with some fried and crushed badiyan. These gourds are cooked with either chana daal or kala chana too and many people have written to me that these are their favourite summer subzis. I think kids don't care for such mushy curries but adults somehow start loving them. The body tells them what feels good and not just the palate.
I sometimes cook ridge gourds with mutton keema (minced mutton), we call it turai keema to have with chapati for our dinner. And I keep changing the turai keema recipe as per convenience, the vegetarian turai recipes are so diverse we love them as they are.
This summer I tried a turai keema with coriander paste and coconut milk added and loved it so much we had it twice last week. One reason is that we both have been traveling a lot and simpler home cooked meals feel comforting. I want to make them more and more simple for the sake of convenience, it works wonders if you know what you like in terms of flavours.
(3 large meal servings with chapatis and one side dish)
ridge gourds 400 gm
mutton keema 200 gm
coriander greens chopped 1 cup
garlic cloves 3
green chillies 2
ginger root grated 1 tsp
pepper corns 1/2 tsp
cumin seeds 1/2 tsp
coconut milk (cream) 100 ml
mustard oil 1 tsp
salt to taste
Make a green paste using coriander greens, ginger, garlic, green chillies, pepper corns and cumin seeds. Keep aside.
Peel the ridge gourds, wash and cube them in small pieces.
Heat the mustard oil in a pressure cooker pan and dump the keema in it. Scramble and fry for a couple of minutes to make the keema loose so it doesn't clump together in the curry. Add the green paste and stir fry for a minute.
Add salt and cubed ridge gourds. Mix well, add 2-3 tbsp water and cover the lid of the pressure cooker. Cook till the whistle blows. Let it cool and open the lid.
Pour the coconut milk, simmer for a few minutes to get required consistency. Serve hot with chapatis.
We had it with ragi roti and plain red chilly smoked baingan ka bharta.
The baingan ka bharta is just flame grilled round brinjals mashed along with chopped onions, chopped green chillies and salt. Served with a dash of raw mustard oil this bharta or chokha is a great vegetable dish that can replace a salad. To smoke it with red chilly I just brush one red chilly with mustard oil and burn the chilly over gas flame a little. Then insert the chilly into the mashed chokha and cover for a while. It gets nicely smoked with a chilly whiff.
This turai keema with coriander and coconut milk is very subtle sweetish aromatic dish that one can enjoy even in peak summer. I like it a bit thin but you can adjust consistency as per requirement or choice. You can add more coconut milk or cream and make it a bit rich but we liked it lighter and mellow without much chilly heat.
Let me know if you try this recipe. I might cook this with regular mutton on bone sometime at leisure. Mutton on bone needs longer cooking time and I cook it sparingly these days.