Spicy Spine Gourd / Pagila / Kantola / Teasel Gourd Upkari (Bhaji) With Onions ~ Potatoes ~ Raw Mango ....... with lots of garlic ......... Yumz ........
Spine Gourd or Pagila as we call it in Konkani is a very versatile dish that goes well both on its own or when added on to other vegetables. It’s the season now and there are plenty of these available both in small and large size. The large ones I believe are from Calcutta and are darker in green colour while the small ones are lighter in shade.
Both are yummy to eat and can be prepared adding any one of these. The larger ones give you good strips and slices while the smaller one’s are best added just cut into two vertically. Come pagila season and its always stocked up in my fridge as we simply love this veggi. I am always on the look out to prepare these in different ways, either by adding it to other veggis or on its own. Let’s see how many different varieties of dishes I can come up with this year.
Bhaji is a simple dish prepared with some spices. This one is also simple in preparation. I have used Sambhar Powder here as I love its flavour and prefer it to just plain chilly powder, you can add any of the two you wish to add. But Please do try out once with sambar powder, you will simply love it. Goes well with roti / chapati / poori or Dal-chawal too.
Wash and scrap off the dirt that lingers to the pagila and cut it into strips as shown in the picture. I have used three large pagila / spine gourds. Also peel off the skin and cut into strips one large potato. Again slice off the skin and cut into strips one medium sized raw mango, discard the center seed. Wash and Keep all these ready aside.
Peel and slice two large Onions lengthwise into thin slices. and keep them ready.
Add all the cut vegetables (spine gourd~raw mango~potatoes) in a pressure cooker pan with one cup of water and pressure cook to one whistle only. Remove from fire and wait for 5 minutes. Then slowly release the pressure with the help of a tongs by lifting the pressure cooker weight. Stay away from the cooker and be careful. I follow this method for faster cooking only. If you do not release the pressure, the vegetable will get overcooked and mushy. If not comfortable with this method or if it worries you, you can just cook the vegetables in the kadai with the addition of water. Just see to it that you first cook the potatoes a little bit and then add in the raw mangoes and spine gourds. Whichever method you use, cook them and keep them ready.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a thick bottomed kadai, when hot lower the heat to medium and add in the crushed garlics and fry till golden brown. Now add in the sliced onions and fry them till translucent. Add 2 tablespoon of sambar powder, ½ tsp of haldi powder and ½ tsp of hing powder and fry for a few minutes. Now add in the cooked spine gourd~potatoes~raw mango along with the water in which it was cooked. Add salt to taste and mix well gently. Cover and cook on low heat till well done. Serve hot with roti / chapati / paratha or Dal-chawal.