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Experience the deliciousness of Turai (ridge gourd) with this South Indian-style turiya or perey upkari recipe. It is a simple side dish made by stir-frying the gourd (or tori) and finishing it with a coconut garnish. Try this tori recipe; it’ll surely delight your tastebuds.
What is Turai / Turiya
There are different kinds of gourds found in India. Turai, Turiya, or Ridge gourd is one such variety with a green and ridged exterior and white pulp on the inside. Considered part of the cucumber family, this popular vegetable dish is often cooked as a curry or a dry side dish.
If you grew up in India, you probably had this vegetable, but it may have been called one of these names based on the state you came from:
- Ridge gourd (English)
- Dodka (Marathi)
- Turai / Turi (Hindi)
- Turiya (Gujarati)
- Peerey (Tulu)
- Heerekayi (Kannada)
- Peerkangkai (Tamil)
- Beerakai (Telugu)
- Luffa or Lufah (scientific name)
Most grocery stores across the US carry turiya, but it is often labeled as sin qua (Chinese name).
If you’re unfamiliar with turiya, it’s quite similar in taste to zucchini. However, the real magic happens when it’s cooked and seasoned with a medley of spices. This simple transformation elevates turiya into a dish that captivates many palates.
Although turiya may be an acquired taste for some, its health benefits are a major reason why many include it in their diets. This humble vegetable becomes a nutritional powerhouse when seasoned and cooked, offering both flavor and wellness in every bite.
Turai is known to have many health benefits, such as
- Helps with digestion
- Aids weight loss
- Helps control diabetes
- Relieves constipation
To learn more about the health benefits, read this article – 5 benefits of adding ridge gourd to your diet.
How to select ridge gourd (turiya)
Choosing the right turiya is crucial, as it can sometimes be bitter. You might have seen people taking a quick bite to test it, but there’s a simpler, more effective method based on its appearance.
When picking turai, aim for a deep green color without any blemishes. The skin should be firm and moist-looking, without any dry patches or soft spots.
Remember, the freshness of your produce greatly influences the taste of your dish. So, take a moment to select your turiya carefully for the best culinary experience.
How to make this recipe
The recipe below is a simple South Indian or Mangalorean way of making this dish and is called peerey or heerekayi upkari.
- For tempering – oil, mustard seeds, curry leaves
- Flavor enhancers – garlic cloves, onions, Thai green chilies, salt
- Key ingredient – ridge gourd or turiya
- Garnishing – grated coconut (fresh or frozen)
How to chop
- Rinse the turai thoroughly.
- Use a peeler to peel off the skin around the ridges and surrounding areas. Discard the peel.
- Cut off the stem. Chop it lengthwise into half. Slice each half into 3 pieces. Make horizontal slits to dice them into 1/2-inch cubes.
- Heat a tablespoon of oil in a wok. To it, add mustard seeds, and as they begin to splutter, add curry leaves and garlic.
- After 10 seconds or so, add onions, green chilies, and salt. Fry it till the onions turn translucent.
- Add Turiya and let it cook covered for 10 minutes until it is done. ( Note: You don’t need to add water while cooking this vegetable. It releases water on its own).
- Garnish it with grated coconut (if using).
How to prep ahead
You can chop the veggies and leave them in the refrigerator for 1-2 days or in the freezer for up to a month. No need to thaw it before cooking – just use it straight from the freezer.
Turia bhaji can be refrigerated for up to 2-3 days without impacting the taste.
Other Mangalorean side dishes you should try
Kadle Manoli is a vegetarian side dish from Mangalore that combines white or brown chana (chickpeas) and tindora (ivy gourd) and finished with grated coconut mixed with Kundapur masala.
This classic Mangalorean dish combines black chickpeas (kadle) with elephant foot yam to make a mildly spicy side dish with a hint of sweetness. Enjoy this dish with steaming hot rice and sambar.
This Turai (ridge gourd) recipe is fast, easy, and a must-try. With just a few ingredients and simple steps, it delivers a delicious and satisfying side dish.
Turai Sabzi / Turiya Bhaji / Peerey Upkari
- Rinse the turai thoroughly. Use a peeler to peel off the skin around the ridges and surrounding areas. Discard the peel. Cut off the stem.
- Chop it lengthwise into half. Slice each half into 3 pieces lengthwise. Make horizontal slits to dice them into 1/2 inch cubes.
- Heat a tablespoon of oil in a wok over medium heat. Add mustard seeds and as they start to sputter, add curry leaves.
- After 10 seconds or so add onions, garlic cloves, green chilies, and salt. Fry it till the onions turn translucent.
- Add turiya and let it cook covered for 10 minutes until it is done. (Note: You don’t need to add water while cooking this vegetable. It releases water on its own).
- Garnish it with grated coconut (if using).
- Turai, when cooked, reduces in size by almost 50% so go easy on the salt otherwise you can easily end up with a salty dish.
How to prep aheadYou can chop the veggies and leave them in the refrigerator for 1-2 days or in the freezer for up to a month. No need to thaw it before cooking – just use it straight from the freezer.
Storage instructionsTuria bhaji can be refrigerated for up to 2-3 days without impacting the taste.
Disclaimer: Approximate nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and can vary depending on the exact ingredients/brands used. If you have health issues, please work with a registered dietician or nutritionist.
This recipe was first published on Dec 2, 2013, and completely updated with step-by-step pictures on October 5th, 2021, and November 27, 2023.