Using a colander, rinse 200 grams kovakkai very well in running water. Drain all the water.
Then chop the kovakkai in 0.5 cm slices. You will need 1.5 cups sliced kovakkai or ivy gourds.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil a thick bottomed pan or kadai. A cast iron kadai also works very well. Keep flame to low. Use a heavy small to medium sized kadai or pan and cook on a low flame.
Add ½ teaspoon mustard seeds and let them begin to crackle.
Then add ½ teaspoon urad dal. stirring often fry the urad dal till the lentils become golden.
Add 1 to 2 dry red chillies (broken and seeds removed) and 1 pinch asafoetida. stir for 2 to 3 seconds.
making kovakkai poriyal
Add the sliced kovakkai. Thickly sliced kovakkai will take a longer time to cook as compared to medium or thinly sliced kovakkai.
Mix the kovakkai slices well. season with salt as per taste.
Again mix and sauté kovakkai for 4 to 5 minutes stirring at intervals.
Then add turmeric powder, kashmiri red chilli powder and coriander powder. Note: you can add sambar powder and skip coriander and red chilli powder altogether. Sometimes I only add sambar powder. The spice powders can be added more or less as per taste.
Mix the spice powders with the kovakkai slices.
Then add 5 to 6 small to medium sized curry leaves and mix again.
Saute kovakkai on a low flame till the edges of the slices start looking crisp. This will take about 4 to 5 minutes on a low flame. Stir often.
Now add 1 tablespoon gram flour (besan). You can also add 1 tablespoon rice flour instead of besan. mix the besan very well.
Sauté for a few more minutes – about 5 to 6 minutes on a low flame. stir often for even cooking of kovakkai slices.
By this time the besan will also get cooked and will give a crisp texture in kovakkai poriyal.
Serve kovakkai poriyal as a side vegetable with a south indian main course or even dal-rice or curd-rice. While serving you can garnish with coriander leaves. While serving a bit of lemon juice can also be drizzled on top of it.
Use a heavy small to medium sized kadai or pan and cook the kovakkai poriyal on a low flame. A cast iron pan or kadai also works well.
Thickly sliced kovakkai will take a longer time to cook as compared to medium or thinly sliced kovakkai.
The recipe can be doubled or tripled.
Spice powders can be added less or more as per your taste requirements.
You can add sambar powder and then skip adding coriander and red chilli powder completely in the recipe.
Some freshly grated coconut or desiccated coconut can also be added towards the end once the recipe is done.