Category Archives: Stirfry

Simple Tendli (Ivy Gourd), The Kooky Mum’s Way

Simple Tendli/Tindora/Ivy Gourd, The Kooky Mum's Way

  • Servings: 1-2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Simple Tendli, The Kooky Mum's Way








You know how there are some foods which you’ve had over the years and which have seen you from childhood into tantrum-filled teenagehood into a (hopefully!) mature adulthood and while you have changed their taste remains unchanged? This is one such recipe.

Tendli, also known as tindora, ivy gourd, baby watermelon, little gourd and gentleman’s toe (!) was a firm favourite in our family. The amazing thing was that each time my mum cooked it, it tasted exactly the same (as is the case even now).

I tried replicating her recipe from my imagination and the end result was a twin – taste: copy; texture: copy; aroma: copy. How bizarre is that?!

Interestingly, cooking with tendli is not confined to the Indian subcontinent.

According to Wikipedia, its consumption “extends from Africa to Asia, including India, the Philippines, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, eastern Papua New Guinea, and the Northern Territories, Australia. Its documented introduced range includes the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Guam, Saipan, Hawaii, the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Tonga, and Vanuatu.” I find this very fascinating and would love to experiment with this vegetable in some non-Indian dish.

a really simple, straightforward, fuss-free recipe which can be made with basic store cupboard ingredients

It goes very well with rotis. I had some salad on the side as you can see from the photo. A delicious, nostalgic dinner.


250 Grams tendli

2 Medium size potato

1 Teaspoon turmeric powder

1-2 Teaspoons chilli powder

1 Tablespoon coriander powder

1 Tablespoon cumin powder

1 Teaspoon asafoetida

1-2 Teaspoons oil

Salt to taste


  1. Wash the tendli and either dry it on a kitchen towel or leave it in a colander to get rid of the excess water.
  2. Once the tendli is dry, halve it along its length and slice it finely.
  3. Wash and slice the potato in the same way (halve along its length and slice finely) or in medium size cubes.
  4. Heat the oil in a frying pan.
  5. Once it is hot, reduce the heat to minimum and add the asafoetida and turmeric.
  6. Next, add the sliced tendli and salt to taste.
  7. Mix well, cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  8. Uncover, add the potato, chilli powder, cumin powder and coriander powder.
  9. Once again, mix thoroughly, cover and cook for 10 to 15 minutes.
  10. By the end of this cooking time, both the vegetables should have cooked. If no, cover and cook for a few more minutes.
  11. Serve with roti. also goes very well with dal and rice.


Desi Green & Brown Chana Stir-fry

Desi Green & Brown Chickpea Stir-fry

  • Servings: 1-3
  • Difficulty: easy
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Desi Green & Brown Chana Stir-fry








Here’s another very quick and easy recipe which is low in fat and high on satisfaction barometer.

Desi chana are a variety of chickpea. According to wikipedia, these are “small, darker seeds [with] a rough coat, cultivated mostly in the India and much of the Indian Subcontinent, as well as Ethiopia, Mexico, and Iran.”

You can find them in several shades of black, brown, green and red. They have more fiber than their larger counterpart.

In today’s recipe, I have used the green and brown ones but you can use any type.

enjoy a bowl on its own, add to a salad, have as nibbles with drinks or serve as an accompaniment to any meal


1 Cup uncooked desi chana

1 Teaspoon chilli powder

1 Teaspoon turmeric powder

1 Teaspoon cumin powder

1 Teaspoon coriander powder

1 Teaspoon carrom seeds (ajwain)

1 Teaspoon asafoetida

Juice of 1 lime or lemon

Salt to taste

1 Tablespoon oil


  1. Wash and soak the desi chana for about 8 to 10 hours.
  2. Boil them with a pinch of salt either in a pressure cooker (5 whistles on high) or the stove top way.
  3. Drain the cooking liquor and set aside.
  4. In a bowl, mix the turmeric, chilli, cumin and coriander powders along with salt to taste.
  5. Juice the lime or lemon.
  6. Heath the oil in a frying pan.
  7. When the oil is hot, lower the heat and add the carrom seeds followed by asafoetida.
  8. Stir for a few seconds and throw in the powders.
  9. Stir for about 15 seconds and add the boiled desi chana.
  10. Add the juice of lime or lemon, mix well, cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  11. Enjoy hot.


  1. Don’t throw away the cooking liquor. You can either use it as a stock, in some other recipe or drink it as is with a few drops of lemon juice. It is really delicious and full of goodness.

Pearl Barley Stirfry, The Oriental Way

Pear Barley Stirfry, The Oriental Way

  • Servings: 1-2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Pear Barley Stirfry, The Oriental Way








There are different varieties of barley liked hulled, pot, pressed and sprouting but pearl barley is the one which is most commonly used in cooking.

Pearl barley has the husk and bran layers removed; you end up with the ‘pearl’ inside which is faster to cook and chewy in texture. In terms of nutrition value, it is the least nutritious type of barley but it is still fairly nutritious.

Cooked Pearl BarleyOnce boiled, it looks very much like some round, plump variety of rice (photo to the right). It is slightly chewy and pretty much bland.

However, in terms of nutrition content, I like to think that it performs better than brown rice because it has slightly less number of calories but – and this is where it really wins – it has four times more fiber.

I fancied some Chinese style stirfry but wanted to avoid having it with rice or noodles so decided to substitute with pearl barley. The combination works quite well.

I couldn’t get hold of tofu so used eggs for protein and added spring onions and peanuts for texture.

a delicious and inviting stirfry

When making stirfry, you don’t want the vegetables soggy. This is what works for me. I wash and cut the vegetables and put them in a colander. I let them sit for a couple of hours till any excess water is drained. When you are ready to cook, the vegetables will be without any moisture.

You can serve the stirfry on a bed of cooked pearl barley or mix the barley at the end of the stirfry. I did the latter simply because when I am cooking for myself, I try to make one-pot meals as far as possible to save on washing up. So I cooked the barley a few hours ahead of time and when the stirfry was done, I tossed it in (a bit like stir fried rice I guess?).

In the past, I have used pearl barley in a soup. But now that I have discovered the world of cooked pearl barley as a substitute for rice, look out for more kooky recipes featuring this ingredient :-).


1/2 Cup uncooked pearl barley

2 Eggs

1/2 Cup babycorn

1/2 Cup mushrooms

1/2 Cup broccoli

1 Bunch spring onion

1 Head of garlic

A piece of ginger, the size of your thumb

5-10 Basil leaves

1/2 Cup Fresh coriander

1 Star anise

2-3 Dry birds eye chilli

1-2 Tablespoons raw peanuts

1 Tablespoon sesame oil

A pinch of pepper

Salt to taste


  1. Cook pearl barley according to instructions on the packet. Drain and set aside till you are ready to make the stirfry. You can drink the drained water, it is very healthy.
  2. Dry roast the peanuts, remove the skin and split them in half. You can use a knife or do this in pestle and mortar. Set aside.
  3. Whisk the eggs, add a pinch pf pepper and some salt and make an omelet. Once it is cooled, roll it and cut it in slices. You will end up with strips of omelet. Set aside.
  4. Wash the coriander, retaining the stem if tender. Set aside.
  5. Wash the basil leaves and set aside.
  6. Now work on the vegetables.
  7. Peel and crush the garlic.
  8. Peel, wash and grate the ginger.
  9. Wash and slice the spring onion.
  10. Wash and chop the broccoli, mushroom and babycorn.
  11. When you are ready to cook the stirfry, heat the oil in a wok.
  12. Add the star anise and birds eye chilli.
  13. Stir for half a minute and add the garlic, ginger and half of the sliced spring onion.
  14. Stir for a minute.
  15. Add the broccoli, mushroom and baby corn along with some salt to taste.
  16. Stirfry on high heat for a few minutes till the vegetables are tender yet have a bite to them.
  17. Add the cooked pearl barley and basil leaves. Stirfry for a couple of minutes till heated through.
  18. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with strips of omelet, toasted peanuts and coriander.
  19. Enjoy hot.

goes very well with some soya sauce and chilli oil