Kovakka Thoran for ARF Tuesday


This is only my second entry to ARF Tuesday, but it is very much similar to my first entry. The method followed is the same, the difference is in the vegetable and of course, the taste and textures. Kovakka or tindora is also known as the ivy gourd.

This is grown in almost all households in Kerala with some space to put up a supporting framework for the vines to spread. They produce white flowers which gradually change into the kovakka which we use in this dish. I remember nibbling on the tiny and tender kovakkai while strolling through the yard. They are usually picked when they grow to about thumb size. There are many ways to make this vegetable, but this is my favorite.

Is this veggie any good for you?

It is Low in Cals and fat but rich in minerals and B complex vitamins. In view of the low calorie content and low Glycemic index it is advocated for diabetics Further, In a systematic review by Yeh et al (2003) on herbs and dietary supplements for Glycemic control in diabetes they concluded that the best evidence for efficacy is available for ivy gourd (Coccinia indica) and American ginseng. (Link)

So here is the recipe

Sliced kovakka(tindora, gherkin, dondakai) 2 cups( Clean the kovakka, split them into two lengthwise and cut them into slices across)

Shredded coconut 1/2 cup

Onions diced 1 small or sliced shallots 6

Green chilies 5 slit lengthwise

One small carrot diced

Turmeric powder 1/2 tsp

Salt to taste

Combine all the above in a pan with about 1/4 cup water. Cover with a lid and cook for about 10mins till these are cooked. They should retain a crunch even after the cooking.

Oil 2 tablespoon or less

Mustard seeds 1/4tsp

Curry leaves one sprig

Shallots 2 sliced or diced red onion 1/2 tablespoon


Heat the oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds and when they start spluttering, add the shallots and curry leaves. As they start to get brown, add the cooked kovakka. Test for salt and serve.





17 responses »

  1. I like kovakka fry too, Vineela. This is what I make when I am craving for some coconut.

    Thanks SH. I know only 2 ways to make this dish. Hope to learn more.

  2. Hi CR If you ever try it, I would love to know how it worked out!
    BDSN My green background..I am still working on it!Most of our Indian veggies are so good, just that we dont realize it.

  3. Hi,

    I tried your Kovakkai and carrot combination. Works good. The change I made to my recipe is I omitted onions & coconut & instead used “parrupu usili”.


  4. Hello! I just tried this recipe for supper, and I am ADDICTED now. How fast it grew on me was a great surprise. First, I cut down the hot chilis to
    3, then tripled everything else, and it turned out delicious. I have never
    used coconut in a vegetable dish, but I love it in this. — I had only the yellow
    mustard seed, so that is what I used. Is the black seed preferred? Thanks
    for a very simple recipe which turned out to be one of my favorite dishes.

  5. This recipe turned out very good for me. This was the best Kovakka upperi/thoran I’ve ever had or made so far. My family also loved it. I followed your ingredients measurements from beginning to end and made no changes. This thoran will be made very often for sure. Thanks to you for such a clear and wonderful recipe.

  6. Pingback: ARF/5-A-Day #13 | Food & Life

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