It's almost the end of summer here. The skies are cloudy and grey with taletells of the monsoon. The monsoons breathe new life into everything. The seeds that are dormant sprout and surprise you with an abundance of goodies. Kantol in our parts was never grown by farmers, it is considered to be an exotic vegetable that grew wild in the jungles and was hand picked by the katkari and brought to the village to be sold. It came really cheap and by the basketfulls. Only in the city of Mumbai did we pay thru our nose to buy this vegetable.
I remember my mother not touching the veggie at the Bora bazaar market and telling me that we will get ours from the village when someone visits. We did and so this veggie was much awaited and relished. There were many ways my Mom would make it but those would mostly drown the lovely vegetable in coconut masala. I prefer this simple stir fry. So here it is.
Kantol is a spiny gourd you may be reminded of the bitter gourd but this is a sweet one without a trace of bitterness. When you choose the veggies, pick small tender fruits that are bright and green. The mature fruits with slight yellow from the ripening will have seeds that mar the taste. Tender ones have soft underdeveloped seeds that can be consumed along with the veggie.
1/4 kgs Kantol sliced fine
2 large onions chopped fine
1/4 teaspoon red chilli powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
Salt and jaggery to taste
1 tablespoon oil
Heat oil. Fry the onions a bit. Add the finely sliced Kantol. Sprinkle the red chili powder, turmeric and coriander powders. Stir. Cover and cook for 15 mins.
Add salt and jaggery to taste. Stir again and cover and cook till soft.
Enjoy with chapatis.
I had made a masur amti to go with rice on this particular day, so you see it in the left compartment and the right one has the Kantol stir fry.