Mama’s Punjabi Recipes: Bharre Tinde (Spice Stuffed Round Gourd)



Recipe 1in


This is one vegetable that is fairly hard to find outside of north India and is especially popular in the Punjab, where it is found usually after the middle of April through the end of the summer. Although tinde are also found in Sindh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra, they should not be confused with the tendli or kundru vegetables of other regions.
Sadly, tinde are not readily available in stores in the US or in the frozen section and are not featured in most restaurant menus, so many people here have grown up not being exposed to this truly Punjabi dish.
Tinde (the plural form of tinda) are often called Indian round gourd or apple gourd as they are a squash-like curcurbit which are grown for its immature fruit. The fruits grow on a vine, are round (2 to 3 inches in diameter). green with a smooth skin, and look like a mini pumpkin.
The vegetable is usually cooked whole, with a four-way split in the middle or cut into quarters and the results are very enticing as the soft seeds are exposed while the outer skin is still soft and firm giving a slight crunchiness to each bite. This is one dish that tastes best with crispy, hot tandoori rotis.
Because they are small and round, some people carve out the middle and stuff it with paneer and other ingredients and cook them in a rich gravy. But the real Punjabi way is to only stuff the cross-cut tinde with masalas and let it cook in its own small amount of gravy. Among Punjabis, the word tinda (meaning squat and fat) is also used as an affectionate nickname or in jest!

Ingredients :   

500 gm tinde (medium size round gourd)
2 tablespoon tael (vegetable or olive oil)
1 small piyaaz (onion)  peeled and chopped
1 small tamater (tomato) chopped
1 small piece adrak  (ginger)  peeled and chopped
2 cups pani (water)
Spices for the masala: 1 tspn namak (salt), 1 tspn mirch (red pepper), 2 tspn dhania powder (ground coriander), 1/2 tspn garam masala,1/2 tspn haldi powder (ground turmeric)

1. Cut off the top stalk, then peel the tinde, wash them and leave it to drain in a sieve.

2 .Make a deep cross cut (in quarters) into each tinda almost till the bottom, but do not cut through, leaving the fruit connected but ready for adding the masala.

3. Now prepare the masala for the tinde in a small bowl. Mix all the spices together well and then take a small pinch and stuff it into the cross-cut in each of the tinde one by one. Keep the stuffed tinde to the side.

4. In a kadai (wok) or skillet, heat the oil well; throw in the adrak and onions. Stir well over medium high heat till they are golden brown, then add the chopped tomato and stir for 2 minutes.

5. Add the tinde carefully, top side up and cook for 5 minutes while stirring gently. Pour in 2 cups of water, then cover the kadai and let it come to a boil.

6. Now stir gently, leave the cover on, turn the heat to low and cook for 15 minutes.

7. Check to see if the tinde are tender and the gravy is thickened. Cook another 5 minutes covered over very low heat so that the masala seeps in completely, then turn the heat off.



I have heard many people say that the hardest part of cooking a Punjabi meal (especially vegetarian) is getting ready with all the ingredients. Many people simply shy away when they realize they have to peel the onions, garlic and ginger and either use the powder form, or simply decide to make something else!

The easy way out is to peel and cut these ahead of time in large quantities and then chop them and place them in covered containers or plastic zip-lock bags in the fridge. If you want, you can even saute the three ingredients together till they are golden brown and store them. If you want to add the chopped tomatoes, you can make the complete masala and freeze it. Then, when you need some, just take a tablespoon or two and add it to the dish you are preparing.


mamas recipe inside3

Shakuntla Malhotra is a skilled cook of Punjabi dishes made in the old-fashioned style that she learnt as a young woman in her ancestral home in Lyallpur, India before it became part of Pakistan after the Partition in 1947. People have often admired her cooking for its simplicity and taste that comes with each mouthful. Even in her mid-eighties, she continues to cook daily and agreed to share some of her delectable Punjabi recipes.