Tinda is one summer vegetable that I absolutely detest. But I bought a packet of it last summer and tried this. This year, I am even stronger in my resolve to eat with the seasons and not try and find winter vegetables in summer, pay through my nose for them, and then feel that they weren’t really worth it.
My dear friend P now works for Field Fresh, a company that is into fresh produce. Every week I get my supply of fruits and vegetables from her. Some of them are even part processed. This is a picture I took in the winter. This feature repeats every week, you just have to replace the winter vegetables with summer vegetables. So now, P is not the type of person who will take no for an answer. When I told her I didn’t know how to make Tinda, she even started teaching me different ways to cook the vegetable. I figured it was simpler to just allow the vegetable to make its way into our basket.
I put Tinda in sambar once and we quite enjoyed it. (OK, I know that sambar can mask the taste of a vegetable if you make it in that manner.) A week later, I decided to make it in the south Indian way (like an Upkari/Karumadhu). Now, where I come from, turmeric and cumin are not part of such steamed vegetable dishes. S finds the absence of turmeric in these dishes quite conspicuous. So I ended up making this dish with cumin and turmeric to please S. Both of us “enjoyed” eating Tinda (probably a first for both of us).
Here’s a very north Indian vegetable cooked in a very south Indian way.
1/4 kg Tinda, peeled and diced
1 tsp Oil
1/4 tsp Urad Dal
1/4 tsp Chana Dal
1/4 tsp Mustard Seeds
2 Red Chillies
1/4 tsp Asafoetida
1 tbsp Coconut, scraped
7-8 Curry Leaves
Salt to taste
Heat oil in a pressure pan. Add the urad and chana dals, mustard seeds, cumin seeds and asafoetida. When the mustard splutters, add the curry leaves and the red chillies. Fry for a minute. Add the chopped tinda, turmeric and the salt along with a little water. Cover and cook for one whistle.
When done, open and cook without the lid to let the excess water evaporate. Add the coconut and mix well.
This is a perfect side to a meal with rice and sambar.