Ash gourds in a spicy, sweet coconut gravy (Kuvale Puli, Puli Koddel)

Ash gourds in a spicy, sweet coconut gravy (Kuvale Puli, Puli Koddel)

Kuvale puli or puli koddel is a Konkani delicacy. A coconut based curry that is sweet, spicy, sour and full of flavour with juicy ash gourds in them that are yum! Ash gourds in this curry take up the amazing flavour and taste of the delicious curry and are a real pleasure to eat.

Ash gourd, winter melon or white gourd is a very healthy vegetable called as kuvale in Konkani. Kuvale puli or puli koddel is a Konkani dish usually prepared on special days and is served as a side dish with steaming hot rice rice for lunch, dinner. Black sesame seeds used give a reddish brown colour to this curry.

Ash gourd has immense health benefits and has great medicinal value too. This curry is pretty easy to make. So, here goes the recipe to make a perfect deliciousss kuvale puli/puli koddel. 


  • 1/2 kg ash gourd
  • 1/4th cup toor dal
  • 1/4 cup grated coconut
  • 4-5 dried red chillies
  • 1/4 teaspoon of mustard seeds
  • 1/2 lemon sized tamarind
  • 1/2 tablespoon of rice grains
  • 1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2.5 teaspoons of corainder seeds
  • 3/4 teaspoon of sesame seeds
  • A pinch of turmeric powder
  • 2 twigs of curry leaves
  • 3-4 tablespoons of jaggery 
  • 3 tablespoons of oil
  • Salt to taste

For seasoning:

  • 1/4 teaspoon of mustard seeds
  • 1-2 twigs of curry leaves
  • 2 tablespoons of oil
  • 1 dried red chilli

Serves: 3-4

Preparation Time: 30-40 minutes

Preparation Method:

1. Pressure cook toor dal using enough water until they're mushy.

2. Peel ash gourd and remove all seeds using your fingers. How to do that? Watch this.

2. Chop ash gourd into big cubes and cook them closed until done using 3/4th cup of water. You need not add lots of water or enough water to dip all the ash gourd as they'll give out water on cooking.

How big cubes? Watch this. Why big cubes? Ash gourd will reduce in size on cooking.

3. When ash gourds are half way cooked add salt, 2 tablespoons of jaggery and mix well so that they take in salt & jaggery. Crucial for ash gourd pieces to taste deliciousss once cooked.

(Do not add jaggery until its almost cooked as it doesn't cook any further sometimes.)

P.S: You can also pressure cook ash gourd for just a whistle with salt, jaggery and one cup water. But you gotta be careful not to overcook it. We want firm pieces of ash gourds in the curry to enjoy them, not mushy, over cooked ash gourd pieces. 

Whilst your ash gourd is cooking prepare the masala.

4. Cook ash gourds until they're almost cooked & then add the ground masala, cooked toor dal & mix well.

Preparing the masala for the curry:

4. For preparing the masala you first need to fry all ingredients. Frying them right & amount of each ingredient used is very crucial to get the taste of the curry right.

5. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a skillet. Simmer the flame and add ingredients into the skillet in this order. Saute continuously to fry them uniformly. Add in mustard seeds, once they splutter add in fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, dried red chillies broken into pieces, curry leaves, seasame seeds, rice grains, turmeric powder, grated coconut and fry them for a minute on a medium flame. 

Fenugreek seeds take a while to heat up so are added first. Mustard seeds are optional. Coconut, dried red chillies need to get fried nicely or else taste of the curry changes. Sesame, rice just needs to get hot. Sesame splutters easily, rice grains fluff up if added early so are added in the end. Hence, the order of frying ingredients is important.

Remove off heat and allow it to cool completely.

6. Grind the fried contents along with salt, 2 tablespoons of jaggery and tamarind into a coarse paste using water. Add jaggery depending on how sweet you would like your curry to be. This curry is usually on the sweeter side.

Traditionally the masala is made coarse, I love it smooth.

7. Add the ground masala to the cooked ash gourd in the cooking vessel, add cooked mushy toor dal and mix well. 

8. Add water to the curry if needed to bring it to medium thick consistency and mix well. Keep the curry semi thick. It'll thicken as it cooks and thicken more on cooling due to rice grains used. The consistency of kuvale puli is usually thick. 

9. Bring the curry to a boil on a medium flame. Check and adjust salt.

10. Keep stirring every once in a while as it could stick to the bottom of the vessel and start to get burnt.

11. Once the curry comes to a boil, simmer on a low heat until rawness of the masala goes off. 

12. Remove the curry off heat and season it for added flavour. No tempering (phaan) should do but tempering adds bags to flavour to the curry.

13. In a tempering pan heat oil, add in mustard seeds. Once they start popping, add in broken pieces of red chilli, curry leaves and let them sizzle for few seconds. Add this tempering to the curry and mix well.

14. Serve the curry hot with a bowl of hot steaming rice and enjoy! 

Traditionally they're served as a side dish. Dalithoy or any of it's cousins, sheeth/rice, kuvale puli. 

Watch it's making in the  video below.