Dondakaya Ulli Karam Recipe | Tindora Curry with Onion Masala

Dondakaya Ulli Karam Recipe is a spicy and delicious Andhra-style ivy gourd dish made by cooking the vegetable in a special spicy onion mixture. It goes well as a side dish with a comforting steamed rice-dal or curd rice or Indian flatbread.

South Indian cuisine is well known for its flavorful and appetizing breakfast, vegetarian, and non-vegetarian dishes. Most of the dishes use freshly ground spice blends compared to North Indian ones.

Here’s another recipe from the South Indian cuisine, Andhra to be specific. We use dondakaya a lot in our cooking – vepudu (stir fry), kura (curry), stuffed, pachadi (chutney). This version has become my favorite as it is easy to make and tastes awesome with both rice and rotis.

dondakaya ulli karam recipe

What is Dondakaya?

This vegetable is green-colored and resembles a small baby cucumber. It is one of the beloved vegetables in Andhra cuisine.

In English, it is called ‘Ivy Gourd‘ and is known by different names. In IndiaIt is known by many different names across India. ‘Dondakaya/dondakayalu‘ in Telugu, ‘Kovakka‘ in Tamil, ‘Kundru‘ or ‘Tendli‘ in Hindi, ‘Tondli‘ in Marathi, ‘Kovakkai‘ in Malayalam, ‘Tindora‘ in Gujarathi etc.

In Indian homes, not everyone is fond of dondakaya aka tindora. I fall in the first category of not liking this vegetable from my childhood. But, now I simply love this veggie and in fact, one of my favorite vegetables.

About Dondakaya Ulli Karam Recipe

Dondakaya Ulli Karam Recipe is from the Andhra cuisine prepared by adding shallow fried ivy gourds to the spicy onion and red chili paste.

There are different ways to make Dondakaya Ulli Karam;

1. Stuff the onion masala paste in the tindora and cook until they are tender.

2. Shallow fry the tindora, cook the onion masala paste and simmer the tindora until tender.

3. Saute all the ingredients mentioned under ulli karam and grind to a coarse or fine paste. Shallow fry the tindora, add the paste, and simmer until the vegetable is tender.

My recipe adopts the second way.

The key ingredient to make this dish is the ulli karam which is a wonderful blend of onions, garlic, red chilies, cumin, salt, and a pinch of sugar giving a perfect balance of sweet and hot flavors. I have added cloves and a cinnamon stick, adding them gives an extra punch of spiciness.

This ulli karam has a very nice balance of spice and a subtly sweet flavor with neither overpowering the other. The ingredients are the basic spice powders that are common in any Indian home kitchen.

As you roast the spicy onion mixture, there is a subtle aroma in the air which fills your kitchen and home. The use of ulli karam accompanied with tempered spices greatly transforms the taste of shallow fried dondakaya and makes this dish one of the best ivy gourd preparations.

Dondakaya Ulli Karam is soft on bite while a medley of spices delivers a comforting mouthfeel.

Its peculiar taste will make anyone who wouldn’t like ivy gourd will start loving it and even wanting more. Try this recipe and can come back to thank me 🙂

Reasons to try

Simple and easy to make.

Wonder veggie that has many health benefits.

The vegetable is a good source of fiber, beta-carotene, and other micronutrients.

Mix of sweet and spicy flavors.

The veggie is good for digestion.

Need minimal ingredients.

Helps lower blood sugar.

Vegan and gluten-free.

Pro Tips

When selecting the vegetable, choose tender, dark green color, slightly plump, free of any blemishes, and long dondakayalu.

Try to use the small to medium-sized dondakayalu for the best taste.

This veggie ripens very fast so make sure to cook it while it is fresh.

If you are cooking this oblong-shaped vegetable for the first time, wash your hands immediately after cutting the vegetable as it tends to stain fingers and make them rough.

Though tempering is just two ingredients, they play a significant role. Use fresh curry leaves to elevate the flavor profile.

The whole cooking process must be done on medium to low flame.

Ingredients

Dondakaya (Ivy gourd): small size would be perfect to make this dish.

Oil: I’ve used vegetable oil.

Tempering ingredients: mustard seeds, curry leaves, and dry red chilies.

Ulli/ullipaya karam: onion, cloves, cinnamon stick, ginger, garlic, cumin, red chili powder, coriander powder, salt, and sugar.

How to make Dondakaya Ulli Karam

Getting the Dondakaya Ready

1. Wash the vegetables well in fresh water. Drain the excess water.

2. Wipe them clean. Trim the edges of the ivy gourd on both sides and discard them.

3. Using a sharp knife, make a (+) slit lengthwise of each ivy gourd into four halves keeping one end intact.

Once cut, if they turn red or orange color then they are not fresh. Discard them.

4. Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan over medium flame. Add the slit dondakaya and saute them on medium to low flame until soft yet with a bit of crunch.

5. Cook uncovered on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetable turns soft and loses its bright green color.

Check for tenderness. If the vegetable is still a little tough, cover and cook until tender. Be careful to not overcook as the ivy gourds will become mushy when cooking.

8. With a slotted spoon, transfer the fried tindora to a plate.

Making the Ulli Karam

9. For the onion masala, take onion (roughly chopped), garlic cloves, ginger, cumin seeds, cloves, cinnamon stick, turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, sugar, and salt.

10. Grind without adding water to a coarse or fine paste.

Making the Dondakaya Ulli Karam

11. Heat the same oil over a medium flame. When hot add the mustard seeds and let them crackle. When the seeds stop popping, add curry leaves and saute until they turn crisp.

12. Add the ground paste.

13. Fry by stirring frequently until the raw smell goes away and the oil separates.

If there is any paste in the blender jar, you can clean the jar with some water and add it to the pan. Cook until moisture reduces and oil separates.

 14. Add the shallow-fried dondakayalu and stir the onion masala into them.

Give a tangy twist by adding some tamarind juice at this stage or squeezing some fresh lemon juice towards the end of the cooking process.

15. Place the lid and cook on low heat. After 1-2 minutes gently stir the pieces to ensure that they cook all over. Cook for another 4-5 minutes on low flame.

If your pan is not non-stick, there is a chance of the onion mixture sticking to the bottom or getting burnt.

16. Roast the dondakaya on a low flame allowing it to absorb all the lovely flavors. Don’t stir/mix rigorously, as the veggie may break and turn mushy.

Sprinkle a handful of water if you like the masala to be wet.

17. Sprinkle some chopped coriander leaves and give a final mix.

Serving Suggestions

This dish is succulent and particularly delicious when eaten with steamed white rice and a drizzle of ghee.

It can also be served with rice varieties like veg pulao, bagara rice.

The dish also pairs well with Indian bread such as roti or plain paratha, and some kachumber (salad) on the side.

Storage Suggestions

You can store the dish or any leftovers for up to 2 days. Store it in an airtight container in the fridge.

More Related Recipes

Boiled Potato Fry

Andhra Chicken Curry

Andhra Chicken Roast

If you’ve tried this Dondakaya Ulli Karam Recipe, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below! Feedback and suggestions are highly appreciated. Also, please share the recipes with your friends and family members.

You can also follow me on Instagram to see what’s latest in my kitchen!

Recipe Card

Dondakaya Ulli Karam Recipe

Author: Santosh Allada
Here is an authentic dondakaya (tindora or ivy gourd) recipe, made in a typical Andhra onion masala called ulli karam. Serve it with steamed rice and dal or rotis.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Curry, Main Course
Cuisine Andhra, South Indian
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

  • 250 grams Dondakaya (fresh and tender)
  • 4-5 tbsp Oil
  • 1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
  • 6-8 numbers Curry leaves
  • 1-2 tbsp Coriander leaves

For the Ulli Karam

  • 2 medium Onion (roughly chopped)
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 2-3 numbers Cloves
  • 1 inch Cinnamon stick
  • 4-5 cloves Garlic
  • 1 inch Ginger
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tbsp Red chili powder (adjust as per your taste)
  • 1-2 tsp Coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp Sugar (or jaggery)
  • Salt to taste

Instructions
 

Getting Dondakaya Ready

  • Wash the vegetable well in fresh water. Drain the excess water.
  • Trim the edges of the ivy gourd on both sides and discard them.
  • Using a sharp knife, make a (+) slit lengthwise of each ivy gourd into four halves keeping one end intact.
  • Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan over medium flame. Add the slit dondakaya and saute them on medium to low flame until soft yet with a bit of crunch.
  • Cook uncovered on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetable turns soft and loses its bright green color.
  • With a slotted spoon, transfer the fried tindora to a plate.

Making Ulli Karam

  • For the onion masala, take onion (roughly chopped), garlic cloves, ginger, cumin seeds, cloves, cinnamon stick, turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, sugar, and salt.
  • Grind without adding water to a coarse or fine paste.

Making Dondakaya Ulli Karam

  • Heat the same oil over a medium flame. When hot add the mustard seeds and let them crackle. When the seeds stop popping, add curry leaves and saute until they turn crisp.
  • Add the ground paste. Fry by stirring frequently until the raw smell goes away and the oil separates.
  • Add the shallow-fried dondakayalu and stir the onion masala into them.
  • Place the lid and cook on low heat. After 1-2 minutes gently stir the pieces to ensure that they cook all over. Cook for another 4-5 minutes on low flame.
  • Roast the dondakaya on a low flame allowing it to absorb all the lovely flavors. Don’t stir/mix rigorously, as the veggie may break and turn mushy.
  • Sprinkle some chopped coriander leaves and give a final mix.
  • Dondakaya Ulli Karam is ready. Serve hot or warm with rice and dal or roti.

Notes

Use fresh and tender dondakayalu.
Adjust the spice as per your spice tolerance.
Instead of dondakaya, you can also use potato, bittergourd, ridgegourd, or brinjal.
 
 


1 thought on “Dondakaya Ulli Karam Recipe | Tindora Curry with Onion Masala”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating