Mama’s Punjabi Recipes — Tauri aur Wadiyan ki Sabzi (Sautted Zucchini Squash)


In Punjab there are two types of squash that are most common – the long, smooth and stout leaf green type, which Punjabis call kadoo and the short, thinner and dark green ones which are called tauri and are commonly called zucchini in the US, although I think they are not the same. We had a tauri vine in our front courtyard in Delhi and they looked different from zucchini, which I only saw when I came to this country.

There is a distinct difference in texture and taste between kadoos and tauris. Once cooked, they are reduced in volume but depending on the way they are cooked, the two require additional items to make a flavorful dish. Whereas kadoo is eaten peeled; and when shredded and mixed with besan (chickpea flour) makes great koftas (veggie balls); tauriyan have less bulk and are best eaten chopped and with some wadiyan (lentil dumplings).

Zucchini is actually the immature fruit of the zucchini flower but it is cooked like a vegetable. While zucchini is easy to grow in temperate climates, it requires a lot of bees for pollination. It is low in calories, has a delicate sweet taste and is high in folate, potassium and vitamin A.

Because it is so tender, zucchini cooks very easily and is easy to digest too. For a tasty dish, you have to pay attention to the amount of water vapor it puts out and be gentle in the way you stir the pieces in the kadai (wok) so that it does not become mushy. And since it is slightly sweet, zucchini is best when cooked with some onions and wadiyan –  the Punjabi type are the best – to bring in the spiciness and tanginess. There is no need to add adrak (ginger) or lasan (garlic) to this dish since the wadiyan bring out the taste.


1 kg tauri (zucchini)

2 medium piyaaz (onions) – peeled and chopped

1 or 2 Punjabi wadiyan (lentil dumplings) to taste of spiciness

2 tbsp tael (olive oil or vegetable oil)

½ tsp haldi (turmeric powder)

Spices to taste: 1 tsp namak (salt), 1 tsp mirch (red pepper)


Wash the zucchini thoroughly and let them drip dry. Cut off the top stalks. It is not necessary to peel the zucchini, but cut them into small pieces.

Break the wadiyan into slightly smaller pieces and keep to the side.

In the kadai, heat the oil and throw in the onions and wadiyan and stir till they are slightly brown.

Now add the turmeric, stir and then throw in the zucchini, sprinkle the salt and red pepper and stir till it is coated. Cover and let it cook in its own steam for 5 minutes over high heat.

Take the cover off and check if the zucchini has let off enough vapor and it and the wadi is tender. If the water is low, turn the heat to low and cover again; if not then return the heat to high till the water is reduced. Stir gently to make sure it doesn’t stick.

When the wadi is tender, this means that the zucchini is cooked enough and the dish is ready. Keep covered and turn the heat down to very low for five more minutes, then turn off the heat and crack the cover to let the excess vapor escape.