06 November, 2011

Turai/Beerakai Pachadi (Ridge Gourd Peel Chutney)

Can fibre ever taste this good?

It must surely be the only thing that could possibly rival a dish made with that wonderful, spongy gourd called Turai

And to top it all, you still get to use the main gourd for whatever it was you were planning to make,

because this chutney is made with just the peel!

Yes, that's right, - the part that is usually thrown away!  Well, almost, anyway. (In many homes, much of the skin is actually left on, since it is edible and provides most of the taste and "crunch" in what is essentially a very soft vegetable.)  Still. There's no denying the "feel-good" factor of using such a thing.

So, ever since I discovered this recipe, I always save the peel (usually refrigerated in an airtight jar till the next day.  Can't have ALL the dishes of Turai, can we?)  (Although, on second thoughts, why not?!)

It might be a good idea to first peel and discard the "ridges" -

- which contain a string-like fibre that doesn't get processed too well in the "mixie" jar, thereby affecting the final texture of the chutney.


1.  Turai Peel - (taken from approximately 300gms of Turai),
(A vegetable peeler is quite handy here, in taking off long (thick) peels.  Discard the "ridges" and any dried parts of the peel. To increase the volume, and soften the texture a bit, half of a turai, or a small whole turai - chopped - can be included as well, along with the peels. Although rare, an occasional gourd might turn out to be bitter - especially off-season produce, - so you might want to do a taste check.)

Roughly chop, if very long..

For the tadka (tempering) - 
1.  Urad dal (husked black gram dal) - 1 TBS
2.  Methi seeds (fenugreek seeds) - 1/4 tspn
3.  Curry leaves - 2 TBS
4.  Dried Red Chillies - 2-3 (or to taste)
5.  Jeera (Cumin seeds) - 1/4 tspn
6.  Tamrind pulp - 1 TBS
7.  Gud (jaggery) grated/powdered - 1 tspn
8.  Salt - to taste
9.  Haldi (turmeric powder) - a pinch
10. Oil - 1 TBS

This chutney recipe should make 5-6 servings to go with rice, since it is usually had as an entree.


Heat the oil in a heavy based kadhai (wok) or pan.  (I used organic, cold-pressed sesame oil and a heavy, cast-iron wok.  I also, as a rule, never heat any oil to smoking point.)

To test if the oil is hot enough, toss in a dal (or any seed) from one of the tempering ingredients -
if it starts bubbling immediately, then it is, - if not, wait a minute or two, and try again, till it shows signs of effervescence.

Add the urad dal and methi seeds.

When nearly done, (they should evenly turn a beautiful, golden-brown) add the dried red chillies (these don't take much time).

Remove the chillies (which will burn if roasted too long), add the curry leaves.  Caution:  This will cause the oil to splutter like crazy, - so back off for a few seconds!

Until well-roasted.  Then turn off the flame, -

- drain the oil, and keep aside the roasted tempering ingredients till they cool a bit, along with the rest.

Using the same drained oil leftover in the wok, add the chopped peel, stir well,

 Cover, (if need be), and cook for a bit (say five minutes or so with occasional stirring) -

- till it reaches that "nutty flavor" stage - not too mushy, but no longer "raw" tasting -

Now for the grinding.  Start with the dry ingredients (that ought to have cooled by now) -

Give it a short "whizz" in the chutney jar attatchment till coarsely ground-

 Add the cooked and cooled peel along with the tamarind -

And another quick whizz to make a slightly coarse paste (though this might take longer with a couple of stirrings midway) to make the chutney.

Also, - this is a good time to do a taste test - to check if the salt / gud / tamarind levels are to your satisfaction. If you need to add more of any, then one quick whizz will mix it better (and if you needed it to be lesser, - then make a note for next time!)  That's it! It's done!


Did you notice something was missing?

If you're like me, (with kids or other family members who don't like it 'hot') you will extricate the chillies beforehand to make the non-spicy version first.

And then, afterwards grind just the chillies (the 'flaky', rough powder is quite nice; - but if you want it finely powdered, then the jar would naturally need to wiped clean, which luckily I don't have to do.)

And mix with the desired quantity of the chutney to make the spicy version for those who DO like it hot!

This is traditionally served with (steaming-hot and fluffy) rice and a dribble of golden ghee, - but would go equally well with rotis, dosas, paranthas, toast, idlis, pita bread, or just about anything !

Let me tell you, it'll be hard to stop with one helping.


  1. Hey Ila, I tried this recipe today and it's a super hit:) just love it!!

  2. Just looking at the pics is a gourmet experience!



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