Lunch Box Series : LBS#27

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Kovakkai is only for birds you think? Nay I used to eat too as a kid. I remember eating those bright red juicy fruits, as a 6 year old, while we were living in a smaller town then. Dad was taking take of this district hospital and we were living in a house which was more like a farm house than a colony. We had many acres surrounding our house and finally ended up growing lots of vegetables. That’s my only exposure in ever growing and playing around in vegetable garden. Every yield was so much that, we used to give to the hospital and the entire colony and still much was left back unused. In those areas, a typical plant grows which gives out a violet or yellow colour flower. But its so confirmed to that soil and climate, I haven’t seen that plant grown in any other area. Its mostly used as a fencing plant. We used to grow this plant instead of having iron compounds. So see midst of this plant is the donda kaya plant that grows abundantly and yields so many fruits. When its bright red in colour, we will see many birds coming there ready to eat them. Mostly parrots are the ones that feed on them and it used to be great trill to see them in action. If we are lucky to have some left by the birds, we will be ready to eat them off. The other thing we used do with those wild plants, was to use its stem to play cricket or jockey. The stems used to be in shape of these bats and we used spend many summer afternoons, shining our bats. Since having left that town, I haven’t actually seen a Tindora plant. But when I think of one, all that comes to mind, is that picture of a compound made plants with bright red ripe Dondakaya hanging ready to eat.

I wish certain things remain as such for ever. But we can’t really think that will happen right. Now when I think of kovakka, I can only think of eating it as a stir fry. Given a choice, I would never eat but I have known parent’s “this is good for health and you are supposed to eat this” line oft with this vegetable that I find I can’t escape. Amma makes this as mostly talimpu and this variety is the best I like and mostly prepare only like this. Last evening we again had a cute little scene enacted by the three siblings. When all of three of them were playing, Konda playfully patted peddu on his back. For which he got excited and caught hold of Kond’s shoulders. With his baby hands, I think he didn’t realise his strength and so resulted in holding konda little tightly. She ended up shouting at him and told him, she isn’t going to talk to him anymore. Hearing that Peddu starting crying and going behind her to make her talk to him. But Konda didn’t budge and went on saying he can leave her alone and not pester her again. Till then, chinnu was with me but seeing this happening, he jumped down and ran to konda, who was facing the wall. He went straight and bit her back and started shouting something raising his hands. We all had to run to pull them from each other. None of them would stop, so finally we had to cajole konda to talk to Peddu, who was still crying and chinnu who was fuming seeing his brother crying. When she finally hugged Peddu and spoke to him, he was so jubilant and shouting and cheering. All three of them were hugging each other and trying to pacify one and other. It looked as if they were all grown ups and know what they were doing. Seeing them like that, all we could do was to wish, that they grow to be as affectionate with each other as they are now.

Today’s Lunch Box had

Endimirapakaya Pappu ~ Red Chilli Dal
Dondakaya Talimpu / Tindora/Tondli Fry / Gherkins Stir Fry
Pepper Cumin Rasam
Plain Rice
Curd Rice

Dondakaya Talimpu / Tindora Fry / Gherkins Stir Fry

Ingredients Needed:

Dondakaya / Tindora / Gherkins – 250 gms
Chilli powder – 3/4 sp
Turmeric powder a pinch
Salt to taste
Oil – 2 tsp

Mustard Seeds + Urud Dal – 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves

Spice Powder
Grated coconut – 2 tsp
Whole Coriander Seeds – 1 tsp

Method to prepare

Wash and scrap on the Gherkins outer skin. It sometimes has that sticky thing on its top. Then trim the ends and slice into thin circles.

Heat a pan with oil. Once its hot, add mustard seeds, curry leaves. Then add the sliced Tindora, stir well. Add salt and turmeric and cook it covered with a lid and keep stirring in between so that it doesn’t get burnt. Simmer for 10 to 15 mins.

Meanwhile, dry roast grated coconut and whole dhania in a skillet and grind to a fine powder once its cool.

When Tindora is almost cooked, sprinkle this spice powder on it and cover and cook for another 5 mins or till its well blended and cooked.

This makes a perfect Talimpu or vepudu for Dal!

Reminder: Today is the last day for sending in entries based on Greens for the Microwave Easy Cooking Event. Will be doing the round up tomorrow! Come to see the Greens!

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Lunch Box Series : LBS#27
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Cuisine Andhra Pradesh
Dish Type Dry Side Dishes
Cuisine Andhra Pradesh
Dish Type Dry Side Dishes
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Rating: 0
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  1. I’ve heard so many stories of kovakkai growing wild in my parents’ native, but never had the chance to see it in person! I love kovakkai and this looks great!! Enjoy every one of these sweet moments with your little ones, Srivalli! :))

  2. oh growing up we had a dondakaya pandiri and when it used to yield us kids felt it was below our dignity to carry it to school for distribution to friends (because our mothers had already spoken on the phone and arranged for the exchange)….what i would’nt give now for something homegrown!!

  3. You know, they call Tindli, Ivy gourd here and growing in public or in your backyard is banned here too because it grows and occupies everything in sight!! I love Tondekai, only get it in Indian store. Looks great Sri, as usual!:))

  4. You have the sweetest kids.
    We were three girls at home, and we used to fight like cats and dogs….. now we all are grown up, we have such a good relationship with each other, ofcourse we can’t fight anymore, we all are living in different continent ;-))))

  5. What a cute story, Valli, about the kids! About the dondakai, in fact, my friend and her mother told me they stopped cooking it ever since they heard it dulls the mind, and my friend was bad at maths. 🙂 I love it!

  6. I never had dondakaya with this spice powder. Should try.Thank you for sharing Srivalli.
    In stir fry I use ulli kaaram.We make Dondakaya pachchadi which is liked by all.
    Donda pallu are used for similies as in ‘Kaaki mukkuku donda pandu’ and ‘Donda pandu lanti pedavi’:-D

  7. Oh your children are adorable Srivalli… You narrate their stories so well, I can almost visualize them… 🙂
    I hated kovakka when I was young, now I am okay with it, like most veggies… 🙂

  8. Asha, hahha..thats nice to know…here we don’t see these except in smaller towns…thanks for liking my lunch box…

    Kalai, oh thats nice….Glad you liked mine. Its nice to know you like reading about my little ones…I need just a little push to start on them…:)

    Happy cook, you are so kind..thank you…hahha..thats really nice to know…and age does make one get closer..

    arundati, hahah..thats nice to know…yeah how we miss our homegrown ones

    sra, thank you!…thats really very funny to know..infact my dad says this is the best for health..

    Latha, thats really no problem..I was just sweet of you…hahah..thats nice to know!

    Uma, thank you

    Nithu, yeah we do…thats nice to know…thank you

    Ramya, yeah agreed..wish they always remain like this…

    satya, then you should try..its yummy..yeah those similes were what I was abt to say in this post..but forgot abt it in the last moment

    Sagari, glad you is indeed yummy!

    Sig, thank you..glad you can…hhah..thats so much like me abt veggies…

  9. I tried it this fry last week, and came out exellennt.The taste was completly new to me, and we liked it.Exploring other andhra type of recipes from your blog.

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