Dondakaya Vepudu – Tindora- Indian Ivy Gourd Stir Fry

Indian Ivy Gourd is a widely consumed vegetable, available in India through out the year. Called Dondakaya (Telugu) or Tindora/Tondli (Hindi), these cute looking small, stubby, green colored vegetables which grow aggressively on vines are used to prepare delicious stuffed curries, stews, pickles, salads and stir fries.

Dondakai - Tindora - Tondli - Ivy gourd - Gherkins

To many, dondakaya is an unusual vegetable, not very common, unlike in our parts of India where its pretty popular. You will find extremities with regard to the popularity of dondakaya, where one either hates this vegetable or just loves it. I, for one love this vegetable and prepare it regularly at home and why not, its available in abundance, fresh, cheap, healthy and tasty.

I have looked up the internet and came up with the common names by which Ivy Gourds are known in other languages as well as some interesting information about this vegetable.

  • Scientific Name- “Coccinia Grandis”,
  • Ivy Gourd, Gentleman’s Toes (English)
  • Dondakaya, Dondakai (Telugu)
  • Tondakayi (Kannada)
  • Vargoli (Hindi)
  • Tindora, Ghiloda (Gujarati)
  • Tondli, Tendli (Marathi)
  • Kovakkai (Malayalam)
  • Kovaikai (Tamil)
  • Goli (Rajasthani)
  • Kundru (Utter Pradesh)
  • Dondakaya or Tondli is a small oblong shaped, smooth skinned, light green to dark green shade, abundantly available Indian vegetable
  • Has a mild sour flavor with a crunchy juicy texture
  • Has medicinal value and used widely in Traditional Thai and Ayurvedic Medicine
  • Contains beta-carotene and a good source of protein and fiber
  • Medical Research suggests that gherkins may suppress the activity of certain enzymes involved in glucose production, such as G-6-phosphatase and helps control diabetes

In Andhra, ivy gourds are abundantly available and, Dondakaya Vepudu (stir fry dish) and Gutti Dondakaya Kura ( a stuffed dish) are popular preparations, of course this humble looking vegetable is cooked along with other vegetables to prepare stews like avial etc.

There are many variations to the dondakaya fry, depending on the region its being prepared.Today’s recipe is Dondakaya Vepudu, a popular Andhra style preparation, where the finely sliced gherkins are infused with a tempering of fresh curry leaves and mustard seeds and stir fried in a coarse powder of roasted dry red chillis, cumin seeds and peanuts.

This stir-fry recipe is simple, though the preparation part of slicing the gherkins is time-consuming, but worth the effort. The dondakaya stir-fry has a nice crunchy texture with a mild spice-sweet nutty flavor due to the red chillis and peanuts and goes well with steamed white rice.

Dondakai - Tindora - Kovakai - Gherkins Finely Sliced


Dondakaya Vepudu – Tindora- Indian Ivy Gourd Stir Fry

  Prepare time:
 Serves: 2

 Main Ingredients:

  •  tindora


  •   250 gms /1/4 kg Dondakayalu / Tondli / Ivy Gourds
  •   ½ tsp mustard seeds
  •   10-12 fresh curry leaves
  •   pinch of turmeric pwd
  •   salt to taste
  •   1 ½ tbsp oil
  •   1-2 tbsp roasted peanuts (garnish)
  •   To be roasted in oil and ground to a coarse pwd:
  •   few drops of oil
  •   3/4 tsp cumin seeds
  •   2 dry red chillis – remove stalk, tear into two and de-seed (adjust according to your spice level)
  •   1 1/2 tbsp roasted peanuts

Method for making Dondakaya Vepudu – Tindora- Indian Ivy Gourd Stir Fry

Wash the dondakayalu and nip the tip and tail ends. Slit each gherkin into two, length wise, as shown in the picture and slice them into thin long strips.
Heat a few drops of oil in a cooking vessel. Once the oil is hot, reduce heat to medium flame, add the cumin seeds and let them splutter and turn brown. Add the red chillis and fry for a few seconds stirring continuosly. Turn off heat and cool. Once cool, add roasted peanuts to this roasted spice mix and grind to make a coarse pwd.
Add oil in the same pan and heat it till hot. Reduce to medium flame and add the mustard seeds, let them splutter. Add the curry leaves ,stir them till the aroma come out.
Immediately add the sliced dondakayalu and combine. Add salt and turmeric pwd and mix well. Saute on medium heat for 3-4 minutes , keep sauteing them so that it doesn’t burn. Now reduce to low flame and let it cook covered till soft, approx 12-15 minutes. Keep checking inbetween, sauteing them so that they dont burn. The sauteed dondakayalu lose moisture and begin to have a wrinkled appearance and turns to a deeper color.
Don’t overcook the dondakayalu, they should retain that, slight crunchy texture. Add the ground coarse pwd at this stage and combine well and let it cook, uncovered for another 2 minutes on medium heat. Turn off heat.
Finally adjust the salt and garnish with roasted peanuts. Serve hot with steamed rice, dal or sambar.


  •   1.Wash your hands immediately on chopping them as it stains and tends to be sticky.
  •   2.Nip off the top and tail part of the ivy gourd before chopping / stuffing /cooking them.
  •   3.Use only the tender green color ivy gourds where the seeds are tender and not very mature, the very mature ivy gourds, though appear green on the outside, have a bright red color on the inside and are very sour and are best discarded.
  •   4.Its best to serve them immediately on cooking as it has a crunchy texture and nice color which might not be the case if made ahead and served after a few hours of cooking, especially with stir-fries and stuffed curries. The taste is the same though, whether served immediately on cooking or after a couple of hours of cooking.
  •   5. Ivy gourds can be used raw in salads, steamed, curried, stuffed, pickled, stir-fried and deep fried. Can be cooked with other vegetables or on its own.


  • Mythili

    Awesome write-up, awesomer recipe and awesomerer photos 🙂
    Good one again !


  • Priya

    Hi Sailu,
    The organisation on the post is Wonderful…the recipe writing style is very pleasing to the eye.
    Dondakayalu naaku kuda chaala ishtam..kaani chinappdu amma ekkuva chesedi kaadu ” Dondakaya thinte burra peragadu…Bhendakayalu thinti Math baaga vasthundi” antuuu chesevaru kaadu…!! hehe..but I have always loved this veggie…ikkada US lo maaku fresh dondakayalu dorakavu…kaani Indian store lo frozen vi dorukuthayee…they are already sliced and packaged….so koni vandatamey aalasyam. 🙂

    Oh yes, Priya! I can relate to your !!

  • shilpa

    Hi Sailu, Thanks for the info on Gherkins. I was already dreaming of this cute & delicious vegetable after reading Lakshmi’s “Dondakaaya masala”, now you have increased my cravings with this post :).

    Your most welcome,Shilpa..:)

  • vineela krishna

    HI Sailu,
    Very nice recipe.I will get here only frozen.

    Thank you, Vineela. I am sure the taste differs a lot with the frozen ones…:(

  • santhi

    Sailu, Did u consider doing pro food photography????
    Seriously your pics are getting better and better

    Santhi, I am trying to improve on my photography skills. That sure is very encouraging to hear..:).

  • Priya Balabhaskaran

    Hi Sailu, I like this veggie cooked in any form. I usually make it like a gravy by adding onion and tomatoes; never tried frying. Will try this soon, I have bookmarked it:)

    You are going to enjoy the stir-fry flavor for sure,Priya.

  • Tanuja

    Hi sailu what a surprise nenu ee roju dinner ki dondakaaya vepude chesanu, ur write up is excellent sailu snaps kuda channa bhaga teestaru meeru:)

    Thank you,Tanuja..:)

  • lekha

    hi sailu,
    great recipe

    Thank you,Lekha

  • menutoday

    Hi Sailu,
    Neat post and recipe. I too make this fry but without peanut. Now i will add peanuts.Thanx for sharing recipe.

    Thank you, MT..:)

  • Aparna

    Hi Sailaja,

    I visited here with your comment on my blog. You really have lovely site. Now that I have plenty on my blog rolls, hope to learn a lot and prepare dishes posted by you guys. Keep posting.

    Thank you, Aparna. We are all learning a lot from each other, aren’t we?! -:)

  • Ravi

    Great recipes, and superb pictures!

    Thanks you, Ravi..:)

  • RP

    This is one vegetable we always buy whenever we get a chance to visit the Indian store. Beautiful pictures Sailu.

    Thank you,RP. Dondakaya is a regular veggie at our home.

  • L.G

    This is what I called “detail”. Wow! A neat neat post about gherkins! Your pics are awesome, lifelike.

    Thank you,LG..:).

  • Lera

    Pictures are great ..recipe sounds cool..Sailu. Now, I do have a reason to try this veggie..:)

    Do try it out,Lera….you will surely like the flavor of tindora fry.

  • Sumitha Shibu

    I like your detailed explanation! I love kovakka,I dont get them here in Switz.

    Dont you get frozen tindora,Sumitha?

  • Nandita

    Hi Sailu,
    Very beautifully written- about our humble ‘kovakkai’. I like the kovakkai-potato curry, tastes awesome with rasam sadam 🙂

    I love that combo too, Nandita..:)

  • mae

    How does the taste differ to the normal gherkins? Is there any difference? Is it bitter, sweet, sour?

    Also, i’ve just noticed your Tips section. It’s very helpful. Well done for thinking to add this in.

    Mae, the gherkins I have ever tasted are the Indian gherkins…I dont know about normal gherkins really..:).
    The Indian gherkins have a slightly sour-sweetest flavor.
    I am glad you liked the tips section..:)

  • Priya

    I have never tried adding peanuts. Its definitely gonna taste better.
    Gorgeous photographs and love your step by step method explanation. Thank you for sharing the recipe, Sailu.

    Thank you, Priya.Yes, the peanuts make all the difference.

  • Priya

    Hi Sailu,
    The idea of voting for the recipes is very interesting…have never seen it in blogs until now….I am gonna have no trouble with it…all of them are going to get Five Stars 🙂

    I am glad you found it interesting, its for your convenience actually.
    Your too kind,Priya…:)

  • Sumitha Shibu

    No, Sailu I dont get frozen ones too !

    That’s sad, Sumitha..:(

  • Ramya

    Wow! Very good post. I wanted to give vote. It doesn’t work properly, where do I have to click to give votes? Excellent write-up.

    Thank you, Ramya. You just have to place your cursor on the stars to rate the recipe. If you want to rate it with 3 stars, just click on the 3rd star and you have placed your vote!!
    Hope that helps!!

  • Manisha

    Sailu, I love your new web site and new look. It’s super!

    Your gherkin recipe is new to me. I love tendli. I’ve never had it with peanuts the way you describe. I use frozen tendli – I think it’s Vadilal.

    Thank you, Manisha..:). Do try out this recipe, you’ll enjoy the flavor of tendli with peanuts.

  • Veena

    Hi Sailu,

    I tried your recipe today and came out very well.I really wanted to try something new with this veggie.Thanks

    Your welcome, Veena.

  • madhu

    hello sailu,

    i tried this recipe today.its really good.i want to know more veggie recipes…
    Thanku, Madhu

  • Hilly

    I am from England and am living in a country where there are many vegetables from all over the world that I don’t recognise. I’ve just come back from the supermarket having bought these little gems, not knowing their name or what to do with them, but wanting to have a go. Having Googled, I found this site and it’s just the help I need to get cooking. Thanks so much. Wish me luck I’m a beginner.

  • kumar

    Sailaja garu:

    I am looking for Tomato, paccha mirapa kayalu and chintapandu pachadi recipe. Can you help me.

    Chaala Thanks andi


  • kiran

    hi sailaja,
    i just tried out you recipe and it came out really nice. It was delicious. The crunchy feel of the ivy gourd along with nutty taste made it an awesome preparation. I used fresh ivy gourds which were available here in Chicago. I added in extra peanuts and overall result came out really good. Thank you.

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  • Kranthi

    Hi Shilu,

    great recipe…. the way u presented is too good….ma mother chala baga chese varu…dondakaya ma husband ki antha ga nachadu anduke kasta takkuva vindadammm….but I LOVE this veggie….and fry ante inka ishtam….kani okate problem dondakayalu baga late ga vegutayi…so vonta late…adi kaka morning officeki vellemundu cheyyadam ante eee curry assalu cheyyalenu…
    try chesaka malli chebuta…..thanks for the post…


  • arthi

    i love ur site! i made dondakaya fry today (which I’ve eaten only once before) from this recipe for my friends and they loved it!

    i get most recipes from here & from bawarchi. but am a great fan of ur site bcz ur recipes have the ‘inti/veetu’ flavor… love andhra/tamil food! 😀

  • rathika

    just now tried… awesome.. thanks a lot

  • Vijay Sharma

    hi shilu,

    Vargoli i have not found in Germany

    Please write me vargoli in German language

    i want to know more veggie recipes.


    • ruthvika

      i think its Efeu Kürbis

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  • Tiggy

    Does anyone know where I can get these Indian gherkins in a supplement form? They have been found to reduce blood sugar levels in people with diabetes or insulin resistance. I don’t live near any Indian shops to buy the vegetables and I’m not sure I’d be able to eat enough of them. I live in the UK but could purchase them online from anywhere if I knew where to find them.


  • suneeta

    Hi Sailu

    I love your recipes and the way you are presentig is wonderful.I tried poha dosa, it’s fantastic. Please give some more soup recipes where i am really intrested in.


  • hari

    Hats of to shilu
    But medical advice on this dis required coz it is not good for body as i listen correct r not.

  • spice lover

    Lovely. I make it pretty much the same except I use sambar pwd.
    I actually have dondakaya cut and stored in the fridge to make today.

  • sia

    Sailu, I made this few days ago and simply loved it. thank u so much for posting this delicious recipe which has become our family fav now 🙂

  • preethi varma

    hiii sailu..
    i saw ur site for first time today..awesome site
    i tried ur reciepe today…and came out marvelous.
    u r doing good job.


  • Naresh

    Hi Sailu..,

    Today i gave a try to make this dish.It turned out to be good expect some extra salt :-).Its a great job from ur side ..posting all receipes…


  • Angeline

    Hi sailu
    Thanks so much forthe recepie on ivy gourd. I have avibne at home but the green fruits are very bitter. What can I do about it?

  • Sonia

    Thank you Sailu. I finally found the answer to what it is called in another indian language. I was trying to explain this vegetable to a north indian friend who did not understand what ‘dondakai’ meant 🙂

  • Ramu

    Thanks for the recipe..It came up very well..:-)

  • Anu

    Hey sailu,

    I like your receipes. And keep checking for this particular receipe again and again. Can you please have them in alphabatical order which would be helpful.

  • Vidya

    Hey Sailu,

    Amazing recipes…. Can you please tell me how to make Gherkin-cocunut salad. I like your website, and yes, your photography is great too!!




  • vanaza

    Hello Sailu, It is very good receipe, i prepared today, i come very well.

    Thanks for the receipe…

  • Divya

    Hey Sailu…

    I actually dont know cooking, I check out on net and prepare the food. Where in, my husband is a super chef. I saw ur recipe of Ivy Gourd and made it the same way… U know what my husband told after tasting it… “SUPER!!”. And, this credit goes to you dear….

    • Thammanamanikanta

      how to prepare dal fry

    • Thammanamanikanta

      how to prepare dal fry

  • Priya

    Tried ur kovakkai fry recipe today..I and my family liked it a lot..Superb recipes from ur site..

  • Priya

    Tried ur kovakkai fry recipe today..I and my family liked it a lot..Superb recipes from ur site..

  • Priya

    Tried ur kovakkai fry recipe today..I and my family liked it a lot..Superb recipes from ur site..

  • dhyan

    thanks tastes healthy!

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