December 23, 2013

Baked Peechinga (Ridge Gourd) Rings

I am introducing 2 new ingredients to this blog, Peechinga (Ridge gourd) and Nutritional Yeast. Peechinga is something I have grown up eating, whereas nutritional yeast is something new that I have added recently to my pantry. Peechinga, which is known by different names in different parts of the world, is from a creeper and is common in rural Kerala villages. You can find it as Luffa or Chinese okra in some of the Asian grocery stores in this part of the world. In Kerala, the very mature fruits are kept to dry completely and the fiber is used as a natural bathing scrub. The green tender fruits are edible and have a very mild, slightly sweet taste.  

Now on Nutritional Yeast. During the last visit to my naturopath, she found out that I have Vitamin B12 deficiency. Good sources of vitamin B12 are animal products, mainly meat and eggs. Though we consume organic, free range eggs occasionally, I could not commit myself to consuming it enough to make up for my deficiency. The plant based source that she suggested was nutritional yeast. I decided to give it a try. Nutritional yeast gives a nutty, cheesy flavor to your dishes and hence can be a tasty, and nutritional addition to your plant based dishes. 

  • Peechinga (ridge gourd) - 2 small or 1 medium
  • Homemade coconut milk - 1/4 cup 
  • Raw almonds or other preferred nuts - a big handful 
  • Nutritional yeast - 1/4 cup 
  • Garlic - 2 cloves
  • Red chillies - 1-2
  • Sea salt - as per taste

  • Add almonds to a blender or food processor and grind well. 
  • Add nutritional yeast, garlic, chillies and salt and grind to fine powder. 
  • Peel ridges and rough skin from the ridge gourd. You can leave the softer skin on. 
  • Slice into 1/4 inch thick rings. 
  • Make an assembly line with the rings, coconut milk and almond powder on 3 different bowls.
  • Dip the gourd rings one by one in coconut milk, then dip in almond powder, and arrange on a baking sheet. 
  • Optionally you can also drizzle a few drops of coconut oil on each ring.
  • Bake at 400 degrees for about 5-6 minutes, flip them and bake for another 5-6 minutes. 
  • This will not become very crispy and  baking it more will make it more soggy. 
  • Serve warm as a side dish or as appetizer. 

This recipe is adapted from

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