Kovakkai rice is a delicious, quick lunch box recipe and our family’s favourite. This flavourful and aromatic rice is made with kovakkai, also known as ivy gourd or tindora, a small, green vegetable commonly used in Indian cooking. The vegetable is sliced thinly, cooked with freshly ground spices, and finally tossed with cooked rice and herbs to create a fulfilling dish.
South Indian cuisine is famous for its many delicious rice dishes, often called
“variety rice.” These variety rice recipes are easy and quick to prepare, kid-friendly and perfect for lunch boxes. These dishes are often served as a main course, accompanied by side dishes like papads, chips and pickles.
About Kovakkai Rice
Kovakkai rice is a healthy and balanced meal with nutrients, vitamins, and fibre. The vegetable is low in calories and antioxidants, making it an excellent choice for those looking to maintain a healthy diet. The spices and herbs used in the dish also offer a range of health benefits, from reducing inflammation to aiding digestion.
In addition to its nutritional benefits, kovakkai rice is also a delicious and satisfying meal. Combining the flavorful rice and the slightly crunchy kovakkai creates a unique and tasty texture that will surely please any palate. Whether eaten alone or with a side dish, kovakkai rice is a delightful and nutritious option for any meal. Kovakkai rice is an excellent option for a packed lunch or picnic, as it is easy to transport and can be eaten cold or at room temperature.
How to make Kovakkai Rice
Cut Kovakkai into thin pieces. Cook 1 cup of raw rice and keep it ready.
Dry roast red chilli, coriander seeds, chana dal, sesame seeds and desiccated coconut until fragrant. Let the ingredients cool down to room temperature.
Make a fine powder and keep it aside. To a pan, add oil. Once hot, add mustard seeds, urad dal, and curry leaves.
Add one thinly sliced onion and saute till it turns translucent. Add the sliced kovakkai, salt and turmeric powder. Mix well. Close the pan and cook on low to medium heat till the kovakkai is thoroughly cooked. Open and stir to ensure the vegetable doesn’t stick to the pan.
Once the kovakkai is cooked, open the pan and add the freshly ground spice powder. Mix well and ensure the kovakkai is well coated with the powder. Adjust salt if needed.
Close and cook again for 5 minutes on low heat.
Add the cooked and cooled rice to the kovakkai and gently mix them.
Finally, add little ghee if desired. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve.
Best ways to serve Kovakkai Rice
Kovakkai rice can be served as a main dish, accompanied by a side of chips or papad.
Kovakkai Rice can also be served with some delicious Potato Roast, Arbi Roast or any other vegetable stir fry.
What are the other vegetables that can be used in place of Kovakkai?
In place of Kovakkai, brinjal/eggplant, green bell pepper, and potatoes can be used. Any two of these vegetables can be used together in this rice too.
Which rice can be used in this recipe?
I usually use Sona Masoori Raw Rice or Ponni Raw Rice for South Indian Rice recipes. For this particular recipe, I have used Ponni Raw Rice. You can also use Basmati Rice in this recipe. It works great. You can also use millets in place of rice. Leftover cooked rice can be used in this recipe.
Tips and Suggestions
Choose fresh and tender kovakkai: Choose fresh, firm, and tender ivy gourd for this dish. Avoid using mature or overripe kovakkai, as they may be tough and bitter.
Dry roast and grind the spices: Dry roast the spices in a pan until they are fragrant and lightly browned. Grind the spices into a fine powder using a spice grinder.
Use the right amount of water: Use the right amount of water to cook the rice, as too much or too little water can affect the texture and consistency of the dish.
Cook the ivy gourd separately: Cook the chopped ivy gourd separately in a pan until they are soft and tender. This will help to retain their texture and flavor.
Add the spices and seasoning: Add the ground spices, salt, and seasoning to the cooked ivy gourd, and mix well. Then add the cooked rice to the pan and mix gently until the rice is well coated with the spice mixture.
Add peanuts or cashew nuts: Add some peanuts or cashew nuts along with the seasoning. Nuts give a crunch and taste to this delicious rice.
Other recipes you may like
Kovakkai Rice | Ivy Gourd Rice
To Roast & Grind
- 5 Red Chillies
- 2 tsp Coriander Seeds
- 2 tsp Chana Dal
- 1 tsp Sesame Seeds
- 1 tbsp Coconut I used desiccated coconut
To make Kovakkai rice
- 250 grams Kovakkai / Ivy Gourd
- 1 cup Raw Rice
- 1 tbsp Oil
- 1 tsp Mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp Urad dal
- few Curry Leaves
- 1 Onion thinly sliced
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
- Salt as needed
- 1 tsp Ghee
- few Coriander Leaves
- Chop the kovakkai lengthwise into thin slices. You can chop them as round pieces too.
- Wash the raw rice and cook the rice with 2 cups of water in pressure cooker. You can alternatively cook the rice in Instant Pot too. Make sure the rice is not overcooked.
- Once the rice is done, let it completely cool to room temperature.
To make the spice powder
- Heat a pan. Add the ingredients under " To Roast & Grind " to the pan, one by one. Add the sesame seeds and coconut as final ingredients. Saute on low flame until the ingredients turn fragrant and slightly golden brown.
- Let the ingredients cool down to room temperature. Transfer to a mixie jar and make a fine powder.
Make the Kovakkai Rice
- To a pan, add oil. Once hot, add mustard seeds, and urad dal. Once it crackles, add curry leaves. Add thinly sliced onion and saute till it turns translucent.
- Add the sliced kovakkai, salt and turmeric powder. Mix well. Close the pan and cook on low to medium heat till the kovakkai is thoroughly cooked. Open and stir occasionally to ensure the vegetable doesn't stick to the pan.
- Once the kovakkai is cooked, open the pan and add the freshly ground spice powder. Mix well and ensure the kovakkai is well coated with the powder. Adjust salt if needed.
- Close and cook on low flame for 5 minutes.
- Add the cooked and cooled rice to the kovakkai and gently mix them. Finally, add little ghee if you'd like. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve.