Tendlichi Bhaji

When I was growing up, Ivy Gourd (tendli or tondli in Marathi and kovakkai in Tamil) was on the dinner menu at our home fairly often. Small, finger-shaped and green, tendli is a rather bland vegetable which, for a cook, can be a good thing because it offers a blank canvas to showcase the flavors of some simple spices.

Tondlichi bhaji, Kovakkai curryTo my mind, tendli’s most valuable asset is its wonderfully crunchy texture. Even cooked, it retains a deeply satisfying snap that I love.

I don’t cook tendli as often as I’d like to, chiefly because I don’t get a chance to make frequent trips to the Indian grocery store which is a fairly long drive away and which is the only place I can find it. Also, it is a little labor-intensive to prep the vegetable.

Still, when I do find it, I cannot resist this wonderful veggie. For this bhaji I cut the tendli into small rings. It doesn’t take that much longer, and it also helps cut the cooking time. Plus, it makes for a pretty presentation.

So here’s the recipe for my tendlichi bhaji. A simple, nutritious and easy recipe for a quick weeknight. Enjoy!

Tendlichi Bhaji


About 3 cups tendli, washed, ends cut off, and sliced into rings

1 tbsp canola or any vegetable oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tbsp udad dal (black gram dal)

1 sprig curry leaves

1 tsp red chili powder like cayenne

1/2 tsp turmeric

Salt to taste

2 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped

2 tbsp grated coconut for garnish (Optional. I didn’t have any on hand when I made the bhaji this time but it’s a wonderful addition.)

Heat the oil and add the mustard seeds and then the udad dal.

When the udad dal starts to brown, add the curry leaves and stir quickly. Add the chili and turmeric powders and stir for a few seconds.

Add the tendli rings and stir well to coat.

Add salt. Cover and cook on a low flame, adding water if necessary, about 15 minutes or until the tendli is tender enough to your liking.

Garnish with coriander. Sprinkle some grated coconut on top, if using.

Eat hot with rotis or as a side dish with rice and dal.

(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

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  1. says

    I make this quite often – more because I usually buy veggies in turns as I would like to have my kids taste them all. My son has become fond of this bhaji. Yours have got a nice colour too!

  2. Anonymous says

    Very nice recipe Vaishali. I made it just now for lunch. I added dry grated coconut. Taste was great. Will be makinreg again. Thanks for the simple yet great recipe.

  3. says

    You make me want to go searching for tendli now. Never seen it anywhere in my neck of the woods (Rotterdam/ The Netherlands), but I’ll look up the Dutch word for it and will ask around on the market. Maybe someone knows someone…

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