Kovakkai fry or dondakaya fry is a tasty, healthy and easy to make south Indian stir fry with ivy gourd or tindora. Ivy gourd is known as kovakkai in Tamil, dondakaya in Telugu, tindora in Hindi and it used in various recipes across India.
This simply stir fry is an all time favorite at home and I make it very often. It tastes excellent when fried in low heat in cast iron pan and pairs very well as side dish with sambar, dal, rasam or even curd rice. Vegan and gluten free.
No south Indian meal is complete without at least one stir fry or poriyal. It is a super simple preparation where you saute and cook the vegetable along with some spice powders and salt. It can be made both crispy and soft.
Kovakkai or dondakaya is a very commonly used in vegetable in Indian recipes. It is typically used in curries, sambar, stuffed and fried, pakoras, stir fry or roast, rice recipes..
This recipe of dondakaya fry I am sharing in this post is a simple, easy to make one and really delicious. It is crispy, perfectly seasoned and tastes wonderful with many Indian dishes.
Do try out this easy recipe when you spot some fresh tinodra or kovakkai or dondakaya. It is
easy to make
vegan and gluten free
best quick fix recipe
delicious with Indian food
About This Recipe
What is dondakaya fry?
Dondakaya, tindora, kovakkai, tendli are the Indian names for ivy gourd or scarlet gourd (Coccina grandis).
It is a very healthy vegetable to include in our diet regularly as it has anti inflammatory properties, rich in fiber, flushes put toxins, rich in beta carotene and said to increase memory power in kids.
Ivy gourd is widely used in Thai, Malaysian, Indonesian cuisines too. They have a crunchy texture and tastes wonderful as raw in salads too.
In this stir fry recipe, is it is cut into half and stir fried along with few Indian spices until cooked and crispy. It is a vegan and gluten free recipe.
This tindora fry recipe goes well with sambar or dal, rasam , variety rice like lemon rice, coconut rice, lemon rice, tomato rice too.
Why this recipe works?
My recipe for making kovakkai fry or dondakaya vepudu is super simple, straight forward and uses very few ingredients. This is a no grind recipe and also no onion garlic.
Slow roasting the dondakaya or kovakkai in cast iron pan does the magic here. It gets ready in 30 minutes and best for quick weeknight dinners or packing in lunch.
You can easily vary the spices or add few more ingredients to make it interesting. See notes for more ideas.
I also make one more variation in this recipe, adding a freshly made coconut masala. I have also included brief instructions for that method too.
Ingredients For Tindora Fry
Kovakkai– Make sure to get tender, fresh and green dondakaya that are not ripe to make tindora fry. The ivy gourd should be raw and pale green if you chop. See the step by step photos for reference. Once ripe they turn blodd red and also get a very sour unpleasant taste making them unsuitable for cooking.
Spice powders– The basic ones you probably have in the pantry already. Turmeric powder, sambar powder or red chilli powder are what you need. If you want to make north Indian tindora fry you can few more spice powders like roasted cumin powder, garam masala powder.
Other ingredients– Peanut oil, curry leaves, urad dal, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, salt.
How To Make Dondakaya Fry Recipe
Pick and rinse 400 grams firm green ivy gourds. Wipe off excess moisture and cut each dondakaya into half. You can also slice them into roundels. Set aside the sliced tindora.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a heavy pan, preferably cast iron. Add mustard seeds, urad dal, cumin seeds, chana dal, curry leaves and saute well.
Add the sliced tindora or kovakkai to the tempering and mix well. Saute in high heat for 2-3 minutews continuously.
Now add red chili powder or sambar powder, salt, turmeric powder and a pinch of sugar. Mix well and saute to combine the spice powders to the vegetables.
Now cook until kovakkai gets well cooked and roasted for 15-20 minutes in medium heat, keep the pan uncovered.
Serve kovakkai fry warm with rice, dal or sambar. See serving suggestions for more ideas.
Andra Style Dondakaya Fry
This is a one more delicious variation you can try. This has a freshly made coconut peanut masala or spice paste.
To make the spice paste for Andhra style dondakaya fry heat a small pan well. To the hot pan add 4 dried red chillies, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, 2 teaspoons chana dal, 2 teaspoons sesame seeds, 2 tablespoons peanuts, handful of curry leaves and roast well. Switch of the heat and add 2 tablespoons grated coconut. Let cool and grind to a coarse powder.
Heat oil in a pan and follow the recipe as mentioned above. Instead of adding red chili powder or sambar powder, add this prepared spice mix and mix. Cover and cook until dondakaya turns soft.
North Indian Style Tindora fry
For this variation of dondakaya fry add 1/2 cup chopped onions after sautéing 1 tsp cumin seeds followed by 1 teaspoon minced ginger garlic paste or 2 garlic cloves minced.
Add the sliced tendli and mix well. Instead of sambar powder add 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder, 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder, 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder. Next add turmeric powder and mix well. Season with salt. Cover and cook until done.
Expert Tips + FAQs
How to pick tondora?
This vegetable is suitable for cooking only when it is raw, firm and tender. It ripens super fast so the first tip is to cook as soon as you purchase or harvest.
For this dondakaya fry tindora should be relatively long, thin and pale green in color with visible white strips. It looks similar to baby cucumber. When you press they should not give in.
If you slice, the inside should be firm with small seeds and white or pale green in color. If the tendli is red and ripe it will not be crunchy or taste good.
How to make super crispy fry?
For roasting any vegetable super crispy using less oil, investing in a good cast iron pan is your best bet. For this dondakaya fry too I have used cast iron skillet.
Next keep the pan uncovered and stir very frequently in low flame for crispy non sticky fry. If you cover the pan, the vegetables will sweat out and turn soft.
This crispy and tasty kovakkai fry tastes wonderful with many Indian meals. You can serve this with dal rice, sambar rice, curd rice.
More Stir Fry Recipes
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Dondakaya Fry- Kovakkai Fry Recipe
- cast iron pan
- 400 grams tindora
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon urad dal
- 12 curry leaves
- 2 teaspoons sambar powder or 1 teaspoon red chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- salt to taste
- Pick and rinse 400 grams firm green ivy gourds. Wipe off excess moisture and cut each dondakaya into half. You can also slice them into roundels. Set aside the sliced tindora.
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a heavy pan, preferably cast iron. Add mustard seeds, urad dal, cumin seeds, chana dal, curry leaves and saute well.
- Add the sliced tindora or kovakkai to the tempering and mix well. Saute in high heat for 2-3 minutes continuously.
- Now add red chili powder or sambar powder, salt, turmeric powder and a pinch of sugar. Mix well and saute to combine the spice powders to the vegetables.
- Now cook until kovakkai gets well cooked and roasted for 15-20 minutes in medium heat, keep the pan uncovered.
- Serve kovakkai fry warm with rice, dal or sambar.