Kovakkai Fry | Dondakaya Fry

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Here’s another recipe that will remove that hesitation you have, regarding the vegetable, tendli or tindora (ivy gourd). Yes, this Dondakaya Fry is an easy and yummy fry made with this veggie. Also referred to as the Kovakkai Fry in Tamil cuisine, you can relish the simple, yet delish flavors of this preparation by pairing it as a side dish with a comforting dal-rice or curd rice meal. It also tastes fabulous when served just with soft chapati or phulka and a pickle.

dondakaya fry garnished with coriander leaves and served in a white bowl with text layovers.

About Kovakkai Fry

Just like ‘kovakkai’ that is the Tamil name of ivy gourd, ‘dondakaya’ is the Telugu name of this vegetable. Other than this, ivy gourd is also referred to as ‘tendli or kundru’ in Hindi and Konkani, ‘tindora’ in Gujarati, ‘tondli’ in Marathi and has many other regional names to it.

This Kovakkai Fry is a super easy recipe, where the ‘hero ingredient’ is the ivy gourd. The overall list of ingredients is also not that much, basically of the spice powders which are super common in any Indian home kitchen. It is simply a fuss-free recipe.

Tendli/tindora or ivy gourd might not be a popular choice of vegetable with most of the Indians, but it definitely is a wonder veggie and has many health benefits. It is a storehouse of most of the essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, etc., and thus, must be included in our diets, as and when possible.

Kovakkai Fry is the easiest way of prepping this veggie in a delicious way, without putting much effort or time. In fact, the maximum time goes into slicing the ivy gourd in this recipe.

After which, it is just sautéing or frying them with spices. So, if you have been not considering this vegetable till now, I suggest try this recipe. Because it is going to change that thought of yours, for sure.

While making any recipe with ivy gourd ensure that they are fresh, green and tender. They should not be matured or ripened and look dry or shrivelled.

More on Dondakaya Fry

This Dondakaya Fry recipe is similar to the way I make the Parwal Fry. If you want, you can even add some chopped potatoes to this ivy gourd dish. But first, sauté the potatoes for some minutes and then add the ivy gourd to them.

Apart from the ivy gourd, other ingredients that this Kovakkai Fry recipe includes is turmeric powder, red chili powder, fennel powder (saunf powder), cumin powder, coriander powder, asafoetida and garam masala powder. Some dried mango powder (amchur powder) is also added for that kick of tang in the dish.

You can adjust these spice powders in this recipe of Dondakaya Fry, according to your preferences. For cooking the dish, you can either use sunflower oil, peanut oil or even mustard oil.

Kovakkai Fry is one of those easy recipes that I make often as a side veggie dish with dal-rice or sambar-rice or rasam-ricce or chapatis.

For me, it easy to prepare and all I need is to chop the kovakkai and then slow cook in a kadai. Some attention is required and that gets done along with the dal or sambar that I am cooking.

Dondakaya Fry also goes well in a tiffin box paired with some soft phulkas or paratha.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Kovakkai Fry

Preparation & Sautéing Kovakkai

1. First, rinse 250 grams of ivy gourd (kovakkai, dondakaya, tindora or tendli) very well in fresh water. Drain the excess water.

Thinly slice off the top and bottom ends, and discard them. Slice the ivy gourd vertically in 4 parts. You will need 2.5 cups of sliced kovakkai.

sliced kovakkai

2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil (sunflower, peanut or mustard oil) in a heavy and thick bottomed kadai. An iron kadai works best for this recipe.

If using mustard oil, then let it come to its smoking point and then add dondakaya.

heating oil in heavy pan

3. Keep the heat to low and add the sliced kovakkai.

sliced kovakkai added to hot oil in pan

4. Stir and mix very well with the oil.

kovakkai mixed well with the oil

5. On low heat, begin to cook the dondakaya. Keep stirring after 3 to 4 minutes.

cooking kovakkai

6. Sauté kovakkai till half done. You will see the edges turning light golden, when the dondakaya is half cooked.

cooking kovakkai

Making Kovakkai Fry

7. Now add the following spice powders:

  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon fennel powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon coriander powder
spice powders added to kovakkai.

8. Next, add 1 pinch asafoetida (hing).

asafoetida added to kovakkai.

9. Mix the spices very well with the kovakkai.

spices mixed well with the tendli.

10. Add salt as per taste.

salt added to the tendli.

11. Mix well and continue to sauté on low heat till the dondakaya becomes golden, slightly crisp and is cooked well. Stir after every 3 to 4 minutes.

cooking dondakaya fry.

12. Sauté till the kovakkai is cooked well.

cooking dondakaya fry.

13. Lastly, add ¼ teaspoon garam masala powder, ½ teaspoon dried mango powder (amchur powder) and 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves.

garam masala powder, dried mango powder and chopped coriander leaves added to the pan.

14. Mix well and switch off the heat.

cooked dondakaya fry.

15. Serve Kovakkai Fry or Dondakaya Fry hot or warm with chapatis, dal-rice, curd rice or sambar-rice or rasam rice.

You can also pack it in your lunch box with a side of paratha or chapati or whole wheat bread.

dondakaya fry garnished with coriander leaves and served in a white bowl with text layover.

Expert Tips

  1. Optional veggies: 2 medium sized potatoes can also be added. First, sauté the potatoes on low heat for 4 to 5 minutes and then add the ivy gourd.
  2. Spices: You can add less or more spice powders, as per your taste preferences.
  3. Dried mango powder substitute: Instead of dried mango powder (amchur powder), you can add about ½ teaspoon of lemon juice.
  4. Oil: You can cook this dish in peanut oil, sunflower oil or mustard oil or any neutral flavored oil.
  5. Herbs: Coriander leaves can be skipped, if you do not have them.
  6. Gluten free version: For a gluten free recipe, skip asafoetida or use gluten free asafoetida.
  7. Scaling: Kovakkai Fry recipe can be easily halved or doubled.

More Tendli Recipes To Try!

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kovakkai fry recipe, tindora fry recipe

Kovakkai Fry | Dondakaya Fry

Kovakkai Fry is a simple and easy recipe made with ivy gourd, spices and herbs. This dondakaya fry recipe is best served as a side dish with chapatis or with curd rice and dal-rice. It is also a no onion no garlic recipe.
4.96 from 22 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Cuisine North Indian
Course Side Dish
Diet Vegan
Difficulty Level Moderate
Servings 3
Units

Ingredients

  • 250 grams ivy gourd or 2.5 cups sliced ivy gourd (tindora or tendli or kovakkai)
  • 2 tablespoons oil (sunflower, peanut or mustard oil)
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder (ground turmeric)
  • ½ teaspoon kashmiri red chilli powder
  • ½ teaspoon fennel powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin powder (ground cumin)
  • ½ teaspoon Coriander Powder (ground coriander)
  • 1 pinch asafoetida (hing)
  • ¼ teaspoon Garam Masala
  • ½ teaspoon dry mango powder (amchur powder)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves

Instructions
 

preparation for kovakkai fry recipe

  • First rinse 250 grams ivy gourds (tindora or tendli or dondakaya) very well in water. Drain the excess water. 
  • Then thinly slice of the top and bottom ends and discard them. Slice the ivy gourds vertically in four parts. You will need 2.5 cups sliced ivy gourds.

making kovakkai fry

  • Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a heavy and thick bottomed kadai. 
  • An iron kadai works best for this recipe. If using mustard oil, then let it come to its smoking point and then add tendli.
  • Keep the flame to a low and add the sliced tindora (ivy gourds).
  • Mix very well with the oil.
  • On a low flame begin to cook the tindora. Keep stirring after 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Saute till the tindora is half done. You will see the edges getting light golden on the tindora when they are half cooked.
  • Now add the spice powders – ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder, ½ teaspoon kashmiri red chilli powder, ½ teaspoon fennel powder, ½ teaspoon cumin powder, ½ teaspoon coriander powder and 1 pinch asafoetida (hing).
  • Mix the spices very well with the tindora.
  • Add salt as per taste.
  • Mix well and continue to saute on a low flame till the tindora becomes golden, slightly crisp and is cooked well. Stir after 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Saute till the dondakaya is cooked well.
  • Lastly add ¼ teaspoon garam masala powder, ½ teaspoon dry mango powder and 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves
  • Mix well and switch off the heat.
  • Serve Kovakkai Fry hot or warm with chapatis or with dal-rice or curd rice or sambar-rice or rasam-rice.

Notes

  • Spice preferences: Adjust the quantity of spices and seasonings according to your preferences.
  • Scaling the recipe: Kovakkai fry recipe can be easily halved or doubled as per your requirements.
  • Optional veggies: To make a hearty dish you can consider adding 2 medium sized potatoes. But first saute the potatoes for 4 to 5 minutes on a low heat and then add the ivy gourds. Peel and cut the potatoes in small cubes so that they cook faster.
  • Dry mango powder substitute: Instead add ½ teaspoon lemon juice once the dish is completed cooking.
  • Herbs: Skip adding Coriander leaves if you do not have them.
  • Gluten free version: For a gluten free recipe, skip asafoetida or use gluten free asafoetida.
  • Ivy Gourd: Make sure to use ivy gourd which is green in color and without any blemishes. Don’t use ivy gourd which is matured or ripened.

Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)

Nutrition Facts
Kovakkai Fry | Dondakaya Fry
Amount Per Serving
Calories 108 Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Fat 10g15%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 8g
Sodium 9mg0%
Potassium 96mg3%
Carbohydrates 3g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 123IU2%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1mg67%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1mg59%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 1mg5%
Vitamin B6 1mg50%
Vitamin C 25mg30%
Vitamin E 4mg27%
Vitamin K 2µg2%
Calcium 36mg4%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 1µg0%
Iron 2mg11%
Magnesium 11mg3%
Phosphorus 39mg4%
Zinc 1mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This Kovakkai Fry Post from the blog archives, first published in July 2017 has been republished and updated on December 2022.

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Meet Dassana

Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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14 Comments

  1. Very simple and fast cooking, Also with less ingredients but very tasty👍🏻👏🏻👏🏻. Thanks.5 stars

  2. Hi, I have tried many recipes of yours. All of them are very tasty. This one is also very easy to make and the taste is superb. And your step by step explanation with photos is very useful for me. Thanku didi

    1. Thanks a lot Dharsana for your lovely feedback. Glad to know that the stepwise photos and the explanation are helpful. Welcome and happy cooking.

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