Although Mangalorean cuisine has a million varieties, the Catholic community knows to make primarily
two err..three types of vegetables - Thel Piyav (using oil & onion as primary ingredients and also similar to the Foogath style of making vegetables where curry leaves are also added), Fon Method (veggies tempered with mustard, garlic and Bafat or Vegetable powder) and the Vegetable Gravy with usually a combo of two veggies. I am talking about vegetables made on an everyday basis with minimum of ingredients & efforts. All these methods use the coconut (grated or ground to paste). The kind that is reserved for weddings and special occasions is the Tendli Ani Moi which has a dash of sugar or jaggery and practically no other 'masala/spice' besides the tempering that needs red chillies. So you can say that it is the simplest way to make a vegetable dish which is really healthy as it doesn't swim in loads of oil/ghee unlike it's North Indian counterparts.
While Ivy Gourd (famously yet mistakenly known as the Gerkin in Mangalore) has always been my favourite in whatever style it is made - Tendli Miriyapito (Ivy Gourd Pepper) or the Fon style (recipe to follow), this special type used to be served only during Mangalorean Catholic weddings on a menu along with Sweet Pulao. Tender cashewnuts called as 'Pokaan' are usually used for this dish as it was the custom in olden days when almost all families had access to Cashew trees in their own yards, but regular cashewnuts can also be blanched and used. This dish is very palatable for anyone - the young and old alike due to minimum spices used. Unless you hate nuts in your food, I'm sure you'll love this preparation.
Recipe Source: Sambardo by J.B Lobo
- 250gms Ivy Gourd (Tendli)
- 1 handful of whole cashewnuts halved (you can use broken cashewnuts which are sometimes available)
- 1/2 - 1tsp sugar (or about 1/2 tbsp jaggery to taste)
- 2 long dry red chillies
- 1/2 tsp mustard
- 1 tsp black gram dal (udad dal)
- 2-3 tbsp grated coconut
- 2 tsps oil
- salt to taste
1. Wash the Tendli well and snip off the ends. Slit them lengthwise in quarters (four parts of 1 Tendli)
2. Wash the cashewnuts and blanch them in boiling water and a pinch of salt for about 8-10minutes. Remove, refresh with cold water and set aside
3. In a pan cook the Tendli with the sugar, salt to taste, cashewnuts & a little water till tender (alternatively you can put all these ingredients in a pressure cooker, put the weight (whistle) on and keep it on a high flame till you start hearing the hissing noise. Turn off immediately before the whistle goes off, wait for a few seconds before removing the weight. Stir and your Tendlis will be cooked much faster - saves time & energy). Add the grated coconut and cover the pan - the heat will help the coconut to 'cook'
4. Heat oil in a smaller pan (separate one for tempering) and when its hot toss in the mustard and wait till they splutter, add the udad dal and stir gently till they turn pale brown - dont allow them to burn, reduce flame if required. Toss in the broken red chillies and stir a bit till the oil seeps into them & they release a nice fragrance, colour & flavour to the oil. Immediately pour this mixture into the Tendli. Stir & cover the lid immediately