Monday, September 24, 2007

Tindora - Two Ways

Tindora or Kovakkai as it is known in Tamil was not a prevalent vegetable at home during my childhood. I've probably tasted it on some very rare occassions and didn't particularly like it. The very first time I warmed up to it was when I tasted a fry made by Kalai athai (for which I am yet to get the recipe). Later, I forgot all about it until I tasted a poriyal when Raji anni made it. The first preparation that I'm going to write about today is similar to Raji annis but is made a whole lot simpler by using the microwave. Even in the microwave this takes a while but it's low-maintenance and just needs some stirring once every 12-15 minutes, also it uses very little oil. We make this very often at home and is spicy and crisp.



Tindora - 1 pound, trimmed and cut into round slices
Onion - 1 medium, chopped finely.
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Oil - 1 tsp + PAM


1) In a glass bowl, add the tindora pieces and microwave for 15 mins on High. No need to stir in between or add any water.

2) Meanwhile, Heat 1 tsp of oil in a pan, add the chopped onions and cook till light brown. Next add chilli powder and salt, fry for 2 to 3 more minutes.

3) Once the 15 mins are up, mix the onion mixture with the Tindora and spray some PAM. Return to Microwave for another 15 minutes. Again no-stirring.

4) The tindora will slowly get brown and cook down considerably. Add more PAM if necessary, stir well, return to microwave and cook for 10 - 15 minutes more till done, stirring once / twice in between. The longer you cook, the crispier it will get and also a bit chewy.


Recently I came across this recipe at Ammalu's Kitchen and now this is another favorite preparation at home for Kovakai (besides the one above). It's a bit more labor intensive and time consuming but very well worth the effort. Ammalu says that it's her Pedatha's recipe who is famous for stuffed vegetables and I can very easily see why after tasting this. I am documenting her recipe here for my future reference.


Tindora - 25
Oil - 1 tbsp

To Grind:

Besan (Kadalai Maavu) - 1/4 cup
Coconut (dessicated) - 1/4 cup
Chilli Powder - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste


1) Make a plus-shaped slit in the Tindora leaving one end intact so it holds it's shape. Microwave these for 5 mins on High with a few tbsp of water and some salt. Drain the water.

2) Grind the besan, coconut, chilli powder and salt. Stuff this mixture into the Tindora carefully.

3) Heat a wide pan with the oil and put the tindora as a single layer. Keep it on a medium flame. Cover this pan with a plate with some water on it.

4) Turn them over a few times so all sides of the tindora get cooked evenly and get browned.

I can't stop popping these into my mouth just by themselves. They are just so tasty. Thanks to Ammalu and her Pedatha.


  1. Beautiful recipes. I bought some frozen Tindoras 2 weeks ago, I know they don't taste the same as fresh but hey! That's all I can do!:D

  2. Lavanya...I love both the versions of Tindoora......Nice ones dear :-)

  3. fatastic recipes. These will be sent to mom to finish of her garden tindora.

  4. laavanya.. i love kovakai! i have never made this in the microwave..yumm i will try it out!!

  5. i am confused about which one to pick :)

  6. I pressure cook my tindora. Microwaving is a good option too. Thx for pointing that out!

  7. I was eating it before, but somehow now a days i don't eat this vegetable Laavanya. Your post tempts me to try again. RCI Tamil Festival food is on. Expecting your contribution as usua. Tks. Viji

  8. Laavanya, I'm forever in search of the crisp tindora recipe that's made at home, I never succeed in replicating it - yours sounds like IT.

  9. hey, i too like the crispy one. using the m/w is a good idea ;)

  10. 1st time here. Great blog. All the best.

  11. I love kovakka(tindora).I make it in a different way.
    The stuffed version sounds very good but is a lot of work. If only someone would do that for me!

  12. Thank you Asha. I've not tried with frozen before.

    Thank you Sirisha :)

    Pooja.. it's great that your mom has fresh growing in her backyard.

    Rajitha, I love the mw version too. Do give it a shot. Towards the end, keep a watchful eye on it.

    Nags, don't pick.. try both :)

    Suganya, The mw also takes quite a bit of time but atleast it doesn't need a lot of tending to.

    Hope you give it a shot Viji. Just checked your blog with the new RCI. Sounds cool.. will definitely contribute.

    Hi Sra, Thanks.. i hope this is IT. Do try and let me know. :)

    Thank you Richa.

    Pushpa, Hi! Welcome... You have commented on my other blog before when I baked your banana bread! :) Good to have you back and your baking skills.

    TBC, you must try the stuffed... my husband's colleague (American lady) loved it after tasting it and wants me to make a big batch for her. Since it's quite time consuming, I only make 25 at a time so it's difficult to make a lot. Try with a little .. maybe 10 or 12.. then the taste will motivate you to do more. :)

  13. Laavanya, I can eat tindora in any form and shape, t-crips looks yummy n so are the stuffed ones too!

    Try sailu's way thats fabulously rich in flavor, I make them when I have guest for lunch or dinner

  14. hey, I love both the ways but for me both the recipes consume lot of oil. your method looks very simple. got to try it like this. I dont cook much in Microwave.

  15. So sweet lavanya, you have made my day, this was such a common dish at home that I took it granted. Im impressed with the response and Im sure my pedatha will be happy to know this, she is in the US at the moment and maybe i will get a few more good ones from her and post!

  16. Hey stuffed tindora is awesome. Chopping tindora is always a time consuming task to me.
    I guess the stuffed way should not take much time.

    Thanks for the lovely post.


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