Ever heard this PJ (pathetic joke) – “Qsn: What is Bruce Lee’s favourite vegetable. Ans: Tendli”, well this vegetable is actually (and thankfully) pronounced in a nasal fashion in Konkani as ‘Tendlein’. In Mangalore, many people grow this vegetable (which grows on vines) in their backyard. It’s botanical name is Coccinia (pronounced as Coc-Sinia) Indica and is commonly known as ‘Ivy Gourd’. I have made this correction here thanks to my cousin Prema who pointed out that although this vegetable is commonly known as ‘Gerkins’ in Mangalore, the actual name is Coccinia commonly known as Ivy GourdIt either grows quietly along the Valche Baji (Spinach also botanically known as Basella alba) on its own ‘matov’ (makeshift pendal made with sticks) or is often found on the family’s favourite Guava tree (like it was in mine). Once a month we had a good collection of organic ivy gourds.
I miss that so much about Mangalore – to be able to grow anything & (almost) everything in our backyards and also receive homegrown organic produce from neighbours & relatives – veggies such as Spinach, ivy gourd, breadfruit (botanical name is Artocarpus Altilis & is known as bakri-chajhar in Hindi) yam & seasonal fruits such as mangoes, chikkoos, jackfruits, guava, bananas, cashews (and nuts), custard apples (seethaphal & ramphal), thorange, pineapples, papayas – the list is endless.
With no offence to my dearest Keralite friends, I found this so cute….Rightly said isnt it? “Kerala may be God’s own country but He comes to Mangalore for vacation” Dr. K. B. Mallya
Recipe Source: My Mum
- 300gms gerkins
- 1/4 tsp haldi (turmeric)
- 1/2 tsp pepper powder
- 1/2 tsp jeera (cumin) powder
- 1/2 inch ginger finely chopped
- 1 green chilly (optional)
- 1 medium onion sliced
- 3-4 sols (or 1 tsp lime juice)
- A dash of sugar (or about 1/4 tsp)
- salt to taste
- 1 tsp oil or ghee (ghee gives a great fragrance)
1. Wash & drain the gerkins. Remove ends (stalk & bottom) & gently mash each gerkin with a pestle. This is just to ensure that the spices enter the ivy gourd which would otherwise be bland. You can even slit them halfway, but the pestle is a far easier option.
2. In a pan (or a pressure cooker) add the ivy gourds and all the ingredients mentioned above. Stir & add about 2-3 tbsps of water. Cover the lid, add the weight (whistle) and cook on high flame. Turn off flame when the first whistle blows off.
3. Allow the weight to loosen, open, stir well to ensure all ingredients have been mixed properly.
4. Serve hot with steaming boiled rice & fish curry