Snake gourd recipe – Snake gourd is a vegetable used in Indian cuisine and goes by the name padawal in hindi, potlakaya in telugu and pudalangai in tamil. It is most commonly used to make stir fry, curry or added to curd chutney. Snake gourd has a very strong smell & tastes pretty bland. It is very important to choose a young snake gourd as the older ones are tougher to cook and may taste bitter.
I include different kinds of gourds in our diet. Ridge gourd, bottle gourd, ivy gourd and this snake gourd are some of the most common veggies we use at home.
In this post, I am sharing a simple snake gourd stir fry recipe. If you are new to this veggie then this post is going to help you learn how to choose snake gourd, how to clean & prepare it for cooking.
Apart from that I have also shared some variations I make to this recipe. My kids love change every time so I experiment a lot to make the snake gourd dish interesting.
Choosing snake gourd
Always choose young & tender snake gourd. The older ones are harder and tougher to cook. The older one also have a strong odor which is difficult to get rid. Some times they also taste bitter especially those grown during the hot summers.
Cleaning snake gourd
Snake gourds have a natural whitish layer coated over them. This has to be scraped off with a knife first. Then we rub the entire veggie with some sea salt and rinse off under running water. This step removes most of the odor.
However some breeds of this veggie smell very strong, no matter how we clean and cook. The hybrid varieties do not smell much.
Cut the snake gourd to 2 to 3 pieces and cut them vertically. Discard the seeds and the pith or the white pulp inside.
The variety that we get in our region of Karnataka are less juicy and can easily get a crisp texture after they are stir fried. But the variety we get here in Singapore are very juicy and tend to become mushy when cooked.
So my mom always would sprinkle salt over the chopped veggie and set aside for some time. Then squeeze up the chopped pieces to extract the juice & discard. This way the veggies get a crisp texture when fried and the smell also vanishes. It is not a healthy way though so I don’t do it.
- Snake gourd tastes bland by itself so I usually flavor it up with some spice powders like vepudu karam , idli podi, sambar powder or peanut podi.
- Sometimes I just use some grated coconut and stir fry.
- Snake gourd can also be steamed in a cooker or steamer until tender. Then just add a tempering to it and sprinkle fresh grated coconut.
Ingredients (1 cup = 240ml )
- 2 cups snake gourd chopped finely (potlakaya or pudalangai)
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- ¼ teaspoon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon urad dal , minapappu (optional)
- 1 tablespoon chana dal , senaga pappu (optional)
- 1 Pinch hing or asafoetida
- 1 garlic clove chopped or crushed (optional)
- 1 dry chili broken or green chili
- ¼ teaspoon chilli powder or sambar powder or pav bhaji masala or 1 tbsp idli podi
- 2 tablespoon Oil (do not reduce, it doesn’t taste good)
- ¼ teaspoon Salt (adjust to taste)
- 1/8 teaspoon Turmeric or as needed
How to make the recipe
- Cleaning : Scrape off the whitish layer on the snake gourd with a knife. Take some salt and rub it on the snake gourd and wash off under running water thoroughly.
- Chopping : Trim both the ends. Cut to 2 to 3 parts. Cut length wise each part and remove the seeds as well the white layers inside. Chop to small pieces that are uniform in size, this ensures even frying.
- Optional step : You can sprinkle some salt over the snake gourd pieces and rest for 15 mins. Take a handful of pieces and squeeze off to drain all the moisture. This step is done to remove the strong smell of the snake gourd. Some amount of nutrients are lost so I do not do this.
- Cooking : Pour oil to a hot pan. When the oil turns hot, add mustard, cumin, chana dal and urad dal. Stir and fry until the dals turn golden. Then add red chili, curry leaves and chopped garlic. Fry till the leaves turn crisp, then add the hing.
- Add chopped snake gourd and fry on high for 3 mins stirring often. Reduce the flame completely. Cover and cook until it is soft and tender. Keep stirring in between to prevent snake gourd curry from burning.
- Stir fry until the raw smell of chilli powder goes away. You can also sprinkle 2 tbsps coconut if you have. Mix well and off the heat. Serve snake gourd curry with rice and rasam.
NUTRITION (estimation only)
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips.