Cucamelon turned into a healthy & tasty Kerala style thoran or stir fry with coconut…
One of the best harvests I had this year was cucamelon. Cucamelons resemble ivy gourd or tindora or kovakka, also looks like a miniature watermelon. However, it’s a totally different species. Cucamelon is neither melon nor cucumber & not a hybrid either. It’s grown widely in Central America & Mexico. One of my neighbours introduced this cute vegetable to me & I couldn’t help growing cucamelon in my vegetable patch. It literally grew like a weed & I had the joy of harvesting cucamelons almost every week.
Though looks tiny, it’s a very robust vegetable. Cucamelon plant is resistant to pests & droughts. I didn’t have to give any special care or attention to this particular plant, it just grew happily & cheerfully.
Cucamelon grows to the size of a grape. It tastes like cucumber with a dash of lime flavour. Excellent for pickling & for making stir-fries. Can also be added to soups, stews & other vegetable curries.
I’ve made a South Indian style pickle out of cucamelons, tasted so good.
Another dish that I make often with cucamelon is this Kerala style thoran or stir fry with coconut. I serve this as a side dish along with rice & chapatis. Very healthy & tasty cucamelon thoran.
Cucamelon pickle, here is the recipe
- Coconut oil- 2 tbsp
- Mustard seeds- 1 tsp
- Chana dal- ½ tbsp
- Urad dal- 1 tsp
- Dried red chilies- 2
- Curry leaves- 1 sprig
- Shallots, sliced- 4 shallots or 6 small/pearl onions
- Cucamleon, cut into rounds- 3 cups (can be replaced with ivy gourd or tindora, green beans, okra)
- Chili powder- 1 tsp
- Turmeric powder- ¼ tsp
- Salt- 1½ tsp
- Coconut, grated- 1 cup
- Place a wide saucepan over medium heat.
- Add coconut oil, let turn hot.
- Add mustard seeds, let splutter.
- Add chana dal & urad dal, saute till they turn golden brown in color.
- Add dried red chilies & curry leaves, saute for a few seconds.
- Add shallots or small onions, season with ½ tsp salt.
- Cook till shallots turn light golden in color.
- Add the cucamelon, combine well.
- Cook covered for 10 minutes till they turn soft.
- After 5 minutes of cooking, all the liquid will dry off, add ¼ cup water & continue to cook covered.
- Add chili powder, turmeric powder & 1 tsp salt, combine well.
- Add grated coconut, combine well.
- Increase the heat & stir fry till coconut starts to turn golden brown.
- This dish will taste good when the coconut turns golden brown.
- Remove the pan from the heat.
- This tasty thoran can be served as a side dish along with rice or chapati.