Growing up I never liked this vegetable until once I tasted this preparation done by my dear dear aunt(My Father's sis). It was so simple and yet tasted so great with just plain rice. A perfect accompaniment for this rice and vegie is a south Indian pappad.
My mom used to cook this vegie along with fresh or dried prawns too. I still remember my how dearly dad used to enjoy this combo preparation of hers. Being so far from home I often miss the pleasure to cook for my parents especially for my dad. Anyway coming back to one other way of preparing this vegie, is to cook it with mutton also..Again what ever is the preparation or combination this vegie is mostly good with just plain rice itself..
An important feature of this vegetable is that it is a must in all the south Indian households especially in Andhra when they have to prepare a meal for a lady who has just delivered. They believe that including this in the diet of a women who has given birth will help her in nursing of the baby. So all soon to be moms add this into your diet when you give birth to your baby.
Another feature of this vegetable is we don't need too discard its thick coarse skin..The skin can be combined with spices, lentils and made into a spicy tasty chutney, which I will publish in my next post.
As much as it is Indian, I'm happy that even in this part of the world we can easily get them in Indian or Asian stores under name Chinese melon
And here is my simple South Indian preparation of this Chinese melon:
Note : Chinese melon is reduced in its size drastically once cooked, so when u are seasoning it with salt take care not to add lots. Here less is more.
2 large Ridge Gourd/Chinese melon(Beeakaya) - Skin removed
1 Tbsp oil
5 - 6 Garlic pods
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
3-4 Red chillies slit
1 tsp Channa dhal(yellow lentils)
8 - 10 Curry leaves
1/2 tsp red chilly powder
Salt to taste
Peel the rough edges of the skin first, discard it and then peel off the skin totally and reserve for later use to make chutney. Now cut the melon into cubes.
In a wok or kaddai, add oil after heated allow mustard to splutter.
Add channa dhal, and fry till color changes slightly.
Add cumin seeds, red chillies and curry leaves and fry.
Add garlic and fry till nice aroma emits.
Now add the melon cubes and season with little salt and chilly powder.
Mix thoroughly to coat the vegie with the spices and oil.
Cover and cook on medium till the melon emits waters completely. Around 5-7 min.
Remove lid and let the water evaporate as the vegie cooks till done and oil emits.
Once the oil emits remove from heat and serve with plain rice.