A flavorful Snake Gourd Recipe side dish from the sunny coastline state in India, Goa. This is a quick and easy spiced snake gourd recipe also known as a bhaji or sabzi in India.
Just to clarify quickly, this snake gourd recipe is about an Asian gourd variety, which kind of looks like a snake. I hope the recipe title didn’t freak you out. Not that you thought we would be cooking up some snake meat.
This commonly available gourd in asia is known as the snake gourd. It’s a green long hanging fruit, growing on a vine plant, with chalk white stripes.
Commonly found in Asia, the snake gourd resembles the Ridge Gourd (Luffa) in many ways. While Ridge gourd is more spongy and watery, the Snake gourd has a more solid texture and in my opinion it’s a tiny bit more bitter.
The skin of the snake gourd is not that thick, compared to the Ridge Gourd, and it can grow up to 1 1/2 meters long!
Yes the snake gourd is an unusual looking vegetable and if seen hanging you would be surprised by the snake gourd’s growing habits. The gourd grows from a beautiful pollinated white lace like flower, the fruit has a tendency to curl up, which makes it look even more like a serpent (check out this painted Snake Gourd Art which I found by accident).
In Goa, the whitish soft skinned Snake Gourd is commonly used in bhajis/sabzi (spiced vegetable side dishes) and it’s for sure one of the cheaper vegetables in the market. It’s a very popular vegetable for the locals!
If you are in Goa then you can buy it in the Mapusa Market or other city markets. Also Snake Gourd can be commonly bought around major vegetable shops along the coastline, such as in Chapora and Vagator.
The snake Gourd should be available all over South Asia.
If you live in one of the Western countries then you might be able to buy the Snake gourd in a specialized Asian market.
In India the snake gourd is known under many different names. The local vendors in Goa usually know it simply as Snake Gourd. Some other names for the Snake Gourd are serpent gourd, chichinda (चिचिण्डा in Hindi) and padwal.
The Ganesh Chathruthi Hindu festival will be celebrated by the end of August this year and that’s when I usualy go to the nearest city market, to keep an eye out for seasonal lesser common vegetables and fruits such as the Hog Plum, Elephant root, taro (arbi), Soursop and Air Potato.
I got some Hog plums for a curry. I was aiming to buy a Soursop, but the lady was selling 1 tiny fruit for 500 INR ( 8 USD!!) so I left that and turned my attention towards a healthy firm batch of Snake Gourds. I stopped the vendor before she was about to break it into 2 pieces (it’s really long), just so that I could make some pictures to show you what it looks like.
The snake gourd tastes a bit bitter but you don’t really notice it compared to the Bitter Melon (Karela). In fact the flavor might remind you of Zucchini and Cucumbers.
The snake gourd flesh texture is similar to a white long pumpkin, the skin however is very waxy. It’s easy to prepare the snake gourd for cooking, peel and cut it and that’s it.
The snake gourd seeds are soft and you don’t notice them while enjoying the snake gourd in a dish which is another plus point.
So how does it come that this wondrous good sounding vegetable hasn’t been commonly sold in the western countries yet?
Well, apparently it requires warmer nights, so European conditions for example are not favored at all, and most probably they don’t export it over thousands of kilometers because it might be vulnerable to damage along the transportation.
However, I did notice that you can buy snake gourd seeds easily to grow the gourds at home and they seem to be rather inexpensive as well!
The spices in this Goan snake gourd recipe enhance the flavor of the gourd in such a natural and completing manner that it turned into one of my favorite bhaji sides with fish curry and rice.
The snake gourd stir fry is flavorful but not hot, I don’t add that much red chili powder. Also the freshly scraped coconut added at the end is neutralizing any chili heat.
The pure vegan Snake gourd recipe is ready in less then 15 minutes and you will only need one pot to make it happen.
My husband isn’t that much of a fan of this gourd, he prefers his beloved Red Spinach aka Red Amaranth aka Tambdi Bhaji.
I, on the other hand absolutely adore this vegetable and I am planning to share a seasonal snake gourd curry soon as well!
Snake Gourd Recipe
For the Stir Fry
- Cut/Break your snake gourd into half. Peel it and cut lengthwise into half then cut into thicker slices. We need 300 grams of the snake gourd, Store the rest in the fridge for later use.
- Peel your onion, quarter it and cut thin slices. Cut your tomato into small dices and just chop your green chili
- In a pot heat up the oil and add the onion first, fry translucent on a slow to medium flame. Add in the Tomato, Snake Gourd pieces and Green Chili and stir fry. Cook all that for 3-5 minutes or until the vegetable liquids appear in the pot. Add in as well the spices, turmeric powder, chili powder, pepper, cumin powder and coriander seed powder and stir fry.
- Add just enough water to cover the vegetables in the pot and not more. Let cook on a slow to medium flame for about 8-10 minutes or until the water has reduced completely and the gourd has cooked.
- Season with salt to taste.Garnish with freshly scraped Coconut before serving
Serving Suggestions 🍛
- Nutritious wholesome Brown Rice or aromatic Basmati Rice
- Moringa Pod Curry
- Shrimp Curry
- Chapati Flat Bread
Dear Reader, have you ever had the chance to eat or cook with a snake gourd?
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