Kantola Fry / Kakrol Fry / Spine Gourd Fry / Teasle gourd

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Found this fresh kantola in the market. When I inquired what is it, the shop keeper explained it's name and happily said how to cook it in layman terms. So, I purchased it in a small quantity to try at home. It is also called as spine gourd and kakrol and teasle gourd. Interested to learn that it is called as "mezhuku pakal" in tamil. It has a slight bitter taste but I didn't feel the bitterness much after cooking. The husband doesn't eat bitter gourd or bitter taste dishes but he liked the taste of kantola. So after this first try and being liked by all, whenever I find it in a market, I happily buy it.

It is available during monsoon season in India. Kantola is rich in proteins and iron and low in calorie. It helps for easy digestion and hence controls constipation.

While buying the kantola, make sure it is fresh and has full green outer skin. Slightly pale colored green skin is also acceptable for cooking but make sure it is tender. Just remove the top stem part and bottom tail part alone and then slice it. No need to rub the rough green outer part and no need to remove the seeds as well.

I prepared kantola fry just exactly how I used to prepare tindora fry/Kovakkai Fry. I have added sambar masala for spicy taste. Red chilli powder can also be substituted instead of sambar masala. I used 3 tbsp oil for sauteing it. Oil can be added while seasoning itself or it can be added in uniform interval for uniform cooking.
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Basic Information:
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

Oil - 3 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Kantola / Kakrol / Spine gourd - 8, sliced lengthwise
Sambar masala - 1 tbsp or to taste
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt - to taste

Method with step by step pictures:
1) Wash the kantole well in running water. Remove the top and bottom portion of it. Slice it as shown in the picture.
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2) Heat oil in a wide pan. Add mustard seeds and allow it to crackle. Throw curry leaves and it it become crisp.
3) Add sliced kantola. Give a stir.
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4) Add sambar masala, turmeric powder and salt to taste.
5) Stir well so that the masala coats well with all the kantola slices.
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6) Let it cook covered for 2 to 3 minutes in low flame.
7) Uncover the pan and stir gently to cook it uniformly.
8) Continue to cook, till it becomes nice brown and crisp.
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9) Serve hot with rice.

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Serving Suggestions:

1) It is a stir fry, goes well with rice and chapathi.
2) It can be served as a side dish for rice for lunch or side dish for chapathi for dinner.
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Notes:
1) Make sure to cook the kantola in low flame.
2) Uniformly slice the kantola so that it cooks uniformly. You can also cut them into round shapes.

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