Spicy Kovakkai Poriyal – Spicy Ivy gourd(Tindora) stir-fry

Ivy gourd, Tindora is known as Kovakkai in Tamil. You can usually find them vine in the cactus plants. I have been told in my childhood that snakes used to feed the ripe ivy gourds which are red in colour by my friends. They look similar to a cucumber. I don’t remember tasting recipes made with it at my home. I don’t know why they didn’t get ivy gourd and I have not seen them at shops before in our place. I remember tasting it during my college hostel days in Chennai. They used to make stir fry with it and serve along with variety rice for lunch. I loved the taste. And I found these veggies available mostly in markets and supermarkets.

This stir fry is a simple South Indian style stir fry/Poriyal made with Tindora or kovakkai that can be served as a side dish for Rice, Roti. My favourite combo of Ivy gourd stir fry is with rice,paruppu/paruppukuzhambu/sambar. It also goes well with Curd Rice or any Variety rice. I always find them available in all supermarkets throughout the year which is mostly imported from India or Sri Lanka. Always use the ones that are thick green in colour. If you are choosing the ones that are pale green in colour they used to ripe soon and they would be red inside. If the one you got is in pale yellowish-green in colour you have to cook them on that day or the next day are they will get spoilt.

You can also check out the recipe of Crispy Tindora Fry, Dondakaya Ulli Karam

Now let’s get into the recipe

Preparation Time: 15 mins

Cooking Time : 25 mins

Serves : 3 .


  • Ivy gourd / Kovakkai – 500 g
  • Salt to taste

For Tempering

  • Oil – 2 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp
  • Urad dal – 1 Tsp
  • Dried red chilli – 2
  • Onion – 1(roughly chopped)
  • Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  • Asafoetida – 1/8 tsp

Spice Powders

  • Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Red chilli powder – 2 tsp
  • Coriander powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin powder – 1/2 tsp


1.Wash and Slice Ivy gourd lengthwise into thin slices. In a pan add oil. I used Coconut oil. Add mustard seeds. Allow them to crackle. Then add urad dal, dried red chilli. Add chopped onions, curry leaves. Saute onions till they turn translucent. Add asafoetida.

2. Add sliced ivy gourd and saute it well in the oil and allow them to cook. When they are half cooked. Place the flame in low and add all the mentioned spice powders,required amount of salt. Drizzle oil if required and allow it to cook . Stir occasionally. When they are cooked switch off the flame.

Serve it hot with Rice and dal, Variety rice or Roti.

Check my other Stir fry/Poriyal Recipes.