Potlakaya koora (snake gourd)

I really love this vegetable. You do get them in the UK but they are about a foot at most, and usually no more than 8 inches long. In India they can be over a yard long – hence the English name. Vishmama discovered I like it, so whenever I go to Bombay, in his inimitable style he scours the city looking for potlakaya to be cooked for me, even if out of season.  

This is the way I usually make it – with a light liquid base. But you can also dry fry it and even add to yogurt for a potlakaya raita

About 500 g potlakaya, washed and cut down the middle and cut into thinnish semi-circular slices

Sunflower oil – 3 tbps

1 ½ tsps. cumin seeds

1 ½ tsps. mustard seeds

1 tsp chana dal (split peas)

1 tsp urad dal (white lentils)

1 or 2 green chillies, slit

Handful of karyapak leaves (15?)

One onion finely chopped (optional)

½ tsp turmeric

Small bunch of coriander leaves

Salt – half to 1 tsp

Half a cup of milk


Add oil to hot pan and do the talimpu – cumin, mustard and the two dals. Then the karyapak, then the chillies. When all crackled, add the turmeric and stir around. If adding finely chopped onions, do it now and let them cook on low heat until soft and transparent. Now add the milk, let it all blend and then add the potlakaya pieces. Add salt and the coriander, cover and let it cook for maybe 20 to 30 minutes until soft and almost falling apart. Delicious with hot white rice.