Tasty fritters with ash gourd – Boodida gummadikaya ‘pacchi vadiyalu’

ash gourd

Ash gourd fritters

Last week, my mother-in-law mentioned to me that, one can make tasty fritters with ash gourd, known as ‘pacchi vadiyalu. Hmm, I thought to myself and exclaimed, I saw it at the local grocers shop, just a few days ago. But was wondering what we would do with such a large fruit. Like me, she also is very much interested in trying out traditional recipes. And asked me to check whether I could buy one. So I was now, really keen on getting my hold of this particular fruit. I went to the local vegetable shop and luckily, it was still there – as if waiting for me. The owner of the shop, a quiet  and helpful lady, Prabhodhini, was very courteous and told me to first check whether the fruit was good or not. And asked me to pay  only if the ash gourd was good. So armed with this ‘bounty’ I went home. My mother in law was very glad to see it. When I mentioned about this ‘ash gourd’ episode to my mum, she too was very happy and wanted it, to make ‘vadiyalu’ and sun dry them. So I decided to keep half of this ‘gourd’ and give my mother the other half. So this way both my culinary gurus are happy: my mother and mother-in-law.

What is ‘ash gourd’?

Native to South East Asia, it is a large pumpkin like fruit, which is eaten as a vegetable, when mature. This highly nutritious melon may grow as large as 80 cm in length. Hmm, indeed a huge fruit! It is cut in wedges and sold in vegetable markets especially in South India. We do not find this fruit, often in Goa.

So that afternoon, I set about making ‘boodida gummidakay garilu’. This was my first experience in making this dish. These fritters or vadiyalu are made with diced ash gourd pieces and soaked black gram, ground with green chilies and salt. A simple and easy to prepare dish.

Once I made these fritters, with bated breath, I waited to hear the comments from my daughter and mother in law. They loved it. When I tasted it, I too immediately liked it!

The ash gourd pieces seem to blend smoothly along with the spiced dal batter. With each bite, these fritters simply dissolved in my mouth. You have to taste it to believe it!

ash gourd

Hmm, a tasty snack.

What’s in a name?

Ash gourd is also known as winter melon, white gourd, winter gourd, large fuzzy melon, tallow gourd or wax gourd, Chinese preserving melon or Chinese watermelon. It is known as Boodida Gummadikaya in Telugu and Neer Poosanikai in Tamil. It is known as Kuvaddo in Konkani, Petha or Pethakaddu in Hindi, Komora in Assamese, Boodagumbala is Kannada, Kohla in Marathi and Kumbalanga in Malayalam.

The various names for this vegetable in some of the Asian countries are:

China:  dong gua, dong gwa, tung kwa

Indonesia:  beligo, bleego, bleegoo, bligo, koondoor, tangkue

Japan:  kamo uri, togan

Korea:  ho bak

Malaysia:  kundur

Philippines:  kondol, kundol

Sri Lanka:  alu-puhul

Thailand:  fak khiao, fak kib, phat

Vietnam:  bi bee, bi chanh

Reference: http://www.kitazawaseed.com/

Why is it known as wax gourd?

The immature melon has a thick white flesh, which is sweet when eaten. The mature fruit loses its hair and sweetness. Now, it develops a waxy outer coating, which provides a long shelf life to this gourd. Thus this melon remains good, off the vine for a long time and can be stored for many months. The ash gourds of the Indian subcontinent have a white coating with rough texture. And the South East Asian varieties have a smooth waxy texture.

ash gourd

Wax gourd

Use in Indian cuisine:

In Andhra Pradesh, this gourd is used to prepare ‘vadiyalu’, which are again two types. Pacchi vadiyalu or raw fritters, which are deep fried in oil and relished as fritters. And vadiyalu, are the sun dried fritters, which can be stored for many months. Whenever required, these can be fried in oil and savored with rice.

In South India, this gourd is used to make curries and halwa, a sweet dish.

Petha is a famous specialty of Agra, it is popular sweet candy is made from ash gourd.

Did you know?

In South EastAsia, this ash gourd is sweetened with caramelized sugar and bottled as a drink, known as winter melon punch or “melon tea.”

ash gourd

Pacchi vadiyalu





Print Recipe
Ash gourd fritters or Boodida gummadikaya ‘pacchi vadiyalu’
ash gourd
Course snack
Cuisine andhra, andhraindian
Course snack
Cuisine andhra, andhraindian
ash gourd
  1. Soak the split black gram dal in water for 4-5 hours. Drain the water and grind the soaked dal along with green chilies to a fine paste. Ensure that you use minimal amount of water to make a thick batter.
  2. Transfer the batter in a bowl and add the diced ash gourd pieces. Add salt and a pinch of baking soda. Mix well.
  3. Heat a small pan, pour oil for frying. Once the oil is heated, keep on medium flame.
  4. Apply little water to your palm. Now take a morsel of this batter and pat it into a round shape on the moistened palm. Drop this into hot oil, slowly. Take care not to touch the hot pan.
  5. Fry the ‘vadas’ until they turn golden brown. Remove from oil and drain on tissue paper. Serve hot either plain or with any chutney of your choice.
Recipe Notes

A mealtime blessing from the Taittiriya Upanishad:
"From food all creatures are produced, and all creatures
that dwell on the earth, by food they live and into food they
finally pass.  Food is the chief among beings.  Verily he
obtains all good who worships the Divine as food."

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