Kundru (tindora/tendli or ivy gourd) hasn’t always been a vegetable I was fond of. For long years I thought it was an unsophisticated version of parval (pointed gourd). It is only recently that a slow appreciation of this gourd grew on me. True, kundru resembles parval on the outside, but its inside is fleshier and tangier, making its taste stand apart on its own. This recipe combines kundru with besan (gram flour) – the addition of besan tames the natural tartness of kundru and gives it a delicious aromatic coating.
Sometimes you cut open a kundru to find the insides reddish instead of pale green, which means that the kundru has ripened. Kundru tastes best when cooked unripe (non-red) – but a bit of red is fine too (it makes the dish prettier!) You might just have to cook red kundru a couple of minutes longer.
- Kundru (tindora/tendli/ivy gourd) – 400 grams
- Besan (gram flour) – 1 tablespoon
- Cumin powder – 1 teaspoon
- Coriander powder – 2 teaspoons
- Red chili powder – 1 teaspoon (adjust to taste)
- Turmeric powder – 1/4 teaspoon
- Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon
- Salt – to taste
- Asafoetida – a pinch
- Mustard oil – 1 tablespoon
Snip the ends off the kundru. Slice each into thin (about 2mm thick) disks.
Heat mustard oil in a kadhai. When the oil is smoking hot, set heat to low, add cumin seeds and let them splutter. Add asafoetida and tip in sliced kundru.
Stir well to coat the kundru with the tempered oil.
Sprinkle turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumin powder and red chili powder. Stir well again.
Cover and cook kundru for 10 minutes on medium heat – uncover every other minute and give the kundru a stir. Add salt to taste, set heat to high and cook uncovered for 2 minutes.
Set heat back to low. Sprinkle a tablespoon of besan (gram flour) and stir quickly before the besan starts to congeal. The besan should coat the kundru slices evenly.
Cook for another 6-8 minutes, stirring regularly, till the besan is cooked.
Besan kundru is ready to serve.
Dig in with dal and chapatis or rice on the side.
 In fact, the resemblance between parval and kundru is so strong that some websites list parval as an alternate name for kundru. That is not correct – the two look the same but they are not the same.
 Thanks to that red and the green-white ribbed skin, ivy gourd gets called "baby watermelon".