We all know that lady’s fingers is okra right? But gentleman’s toes? I had no idea there was a vegetable with such an unappealing name, I mean seriously who wants to eat a gentleman’s toe?
My Bengali mother-in-law introduced them to me only recently and since then I have become hooked. They look similar, and taste not dissimilar in fact, to gherkins which we are huge eaters of in my household – seriously we get through jars of them, even my four year old has a weakness for them. Gentleman’s fingers is also more commonly known as ivy gourd or in Bengal they are known as kundri. Baby watermelon or little gourd are two other names by which they are known.
Granted, you are unlikely to find them at the big supermarkets but head to any Indian subcontinent grocers and you’ll stumble across these fabulous little vegetables. I know for a fact that you can source them in Tooting and I imagine the same goes for Brick Lane, Southall, Hounslow etc. They are commonly eaten in India and are a great source of vitamin A and C. Eaten alongside a dal and you’ll have a very filling and tasty vegetarian supper.
Ivy Gourd Curry
550g ivy gourds/kundri/gentleman’s fingers, halved lengthways
4 tbsp olive oil
1 green chilli, halved
1 tsp nigella seeds
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
2 tsp salt (to taste)
2 tsp sugar (to taste)
2 tbsp water
1. Heat a large pan with the olive oil and when hot add the nigella seeds followed by the green chilli. After 20 seconds add the ivy gourds and stir into the oils and nigella seeds. Leave to cook on a low heat for 5 minutes.
2. Add all the other ingredients and give a good stir and then place a lid on the pan and leave to simmer, stirring a couple of times, for 20 minutes or until the ivy gourd is soft but not mushy!
So simple and yet ridiculously satisfying.
I hope you get to stumble across these little beauties before too long.