Indian Style Stir-fried Spine/ Spiny Gourd (Kantola/ Phaagil) And Potatoes
I’m not sure if you are familiar with the spiny gourd. It’s a smaller, rounder version of the bitter gourd/ bitter melon covered in green pines. This is a vegetable that I've never seen till a few years ago when I discovered it in the local market her in Goa.
The Spine Gourd is a seasonal vegetable and usually floods the markets here sometime in July/ August every year. It’s slightly bitter in taste and is an absolute local favourite in Goa.
People wait for it to make an appearance and it’s very much in demand even though it is invariably priced on the more expensive side. I have no idea why it isn't widely grown on farms or even kitchen gardens because it grows as easily as bitter gourd/ melon which is quite common here.
That said, for the past two seasons I have been buying spine gourd and exploring ways to cook with it. I've so far made it a few different ways including this stir-fry that I’m posting to day and these Phaagila Phodi which is semolina encrusted pan-fried Spine Gourd.
This stir-fry is easy to put together and what is really nice about it is the combination of spices that go into it and the slightly bitter-salty-sour-sweet taste. You can serve this on the side with rice or chappatis. This is a common enough recipe among those who do cook this vegetable and you will find minor variations in the spices used depending on who is cooking it. Here’s how I cook this.
Stir-fried Spine/ Spiny Gourd (Kantola/ Phaagil) And Potatoes
- *Wash and trim both ends of the spine gourds and chop them up into approximately 3/4” pieces. Don’t remove the centre portion with the seeds so long as the seeds are soft. The tender spine gourds are always the best to cook with.
- Parboil the cubed potato and keep aside.
- Heat the oil in a pan, and add the mustard seeds. When the crackle/ pop, add the asafoetida powder and stir once or twice. Then add the onions and sauté till soft and translucent. Then add the tomatoes. Cook over medium heat till soft.
- Now add the turmeric, red chilli, coriander and cumin powders and the salt. Stir and cook for a minute and then add the chopped spine gourd and the potatoes. Mix well, turn down the heat a bit and let them cook till almost done.
- Now add the amchur and the jaggery. Mix well and let the spine gourd and potatoes cook well. Finish off by adding the chopped coriander. Mix well, take it off the heat and transfer to a serving dish.
- Serve warm as a side.