Years ago, I ate Dondakaya Biryani at a friend’s place. It is one of those things that lingers for a long long time. Mostly because one doesn’t expect Dondakaya to be made into a biryani, while it intrigues, it also is very very well made and feels so in place! My favourite way to eat dondakaya (tendli, tindora, gilloda as it is also called) is stir fried with red chilli powder, salt and curry leaves. No tadka, masala, no fuss and goes well with rice and dal / sambhar or rotis. My mother hardly made dondakaya as we were growing up, mainly because to fry it one needs to add a lot of oil, and it used to be a very cheap vegetable, so she always felt it was not worth the time or effort involved in making it. Also, the vegetable is real small, the size of your thumb, so for a family of 5, it was a pain to top, tail and slice the damn things.
All this meant, when someone makes it in a different way, I love eating it. One of my favourite ways to make this vegetable is Gutti Dondakaya. Using Sailu’s fool proof recipe for stuffed brinjals, it always turns out great. But it was time to try making that biryani. To see if I could replicate the flavours. I didn’t ofcourse actually ‘make’ it as a biryani, rather, used my trusty pressure cooker to make a one pot masala rice of sorts. It turned out very well. We had it with raitha on the side. This is a good way to use this vegetable, make a quick one pot meal for a packed lunch or a lazy lunch on a weekend.
Dondakaya Masala Rice (Serves 2-3)
Prep Time: 10 Minutes | Cooking Time: 15 Minutes
Rice - 1 cup, washed and drained
Dondakaya (Coccinea) – 12-15, washed, tops and tails removed and slit lengthwise
Green Chilli – 2, slit
Onion – 1, Sliced into semi circles
Tomato – 1, chopped
Ginger garlic paste – 2 teaspoons
Coriander powder – 2 teaspoons
Garam Masala Powder – 1 teaspoon
Red Chilli Powder – 1 teaspoon
Any Ready Made Masala Powder such as kitchen king, pav bhaji or even chicken or meat masala – 1 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Oil – 1 tablespoon
Curry leaves – 6-8
Mint Leaves – ¼ cup
- In a pressure cooker, heat the oil and add the onions and slit green chillies. Fry for a few minutes till the onions are translucent and add the ginger garlic paste and fry for a minute.
- Add the curry leaves and the slit dondakaya and fry till they are beginning to wilt.
- Add the tomato, coriander powder, red chilli powder, garam masala, kitchen king masala powder, mint leaves and toss to coat it well. Cook this for 3-4 minutes, stirring so that the powders do not burn.
- Add the washed and drained rice; add salt to taste and 11/2 cup of water. Close the lid of the cooker let it cook for exactly one whistle.
- Turn off the flame and allow the pressure to release. Once the cooker is open, fluff with a fork, garnish with fresh coriander before packing into a lunch box or serve hot with Raitha
Plain Curd / Yogurt – 1 cup
Salt to taste
Carrot – 1, peeled and grated
Green Chilli – 1, finely chopped
Coriander Leaves – 1 sprig
Whisk the yogurt with the salt till no lumps remain. Add the grated carrot, green chilli and coriander. Chill till served