I love my seafood and non vegetarian food. Yet, there are those few days, when Pathare Prabhu households turn vegetarian. Every Monday, each Chaturthi of the Hindu month, Navratri, Ganpati and a few days of Shravan are such occasions when even the most hardcore carnivores in our clan go cold turkey with non vegetarian food, albeit temporarily!
It’s funny how these mandatory vegetarian meals are prepared with elaborate attempts to make them resemble non vegetarian ingredients. For instance, typically on Ganesh Chaturthi, Parbhu households will cook ‘suran’ aka yam in a curry and try to make it as close to mutton godé as possible.
This recipe I’m sharing is usually reserved for a vegetarian Monday and is supposed to be a clever alternative to fried ‘karandi’ (small prawns)
Padwal (Snake Gourd) – peel the exterior and slit in two halves lengthwise – discard all the inner fibrous bits and chop into ½ cm pieces.
Haldi, Red chilli powder, Prabhu Sambhar (or any garam masala) to suit your appetite for heat.
Rice flour for dusting
Oil to deep fry
Heat oil in a kadai over a medium flame – if your oil reaches smoking point, the gourd will burn and turn bitter. If it isn’t hot enough, this will absorb a lot of oil and again ruin the dish. The perfect ambient temperature is key!
Add salt to the slit padwal and let it rest a minute. Drain off any excess water that seeps out. However, do this step only last minute – if you leave the salt on for too long, the gourd will lose a lot of moisture and again, the texture’s ruined.
Add the powdered masalas and mix well till all the gourd bits are coated. Next, quickly dredge these in a plate of dry rice flour.
Next, dunk these into hot oil and deep fry for around 4-5 minutes over a medium flame.
Serve immediately with a hot mound of ambemohar rice, plain yellow varan and a generous dollop of homemade lonkadhi tuup!
Also makes an interesting vegetarian snack for a party. Goes really well with a drink.