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Stuffed Snake Gourd

Besan (chickpea/ garbanzo bean flour) also known as gram flour has been a staple in Indian cooking for centuries. It is from the legume family and is lower in carbohydrates and calories but very rich in protein, iron, folate, and manganese apart from other vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants. It is packed with fibre, is lower in calories than other flours and is very filling. It has a lower glycemic index thus preventing a spike in blood sugar. It is a great alternative to use as a gluten free flour. it’s lower in carbs and calories yet richer in protein and fiber. Snake gourd is widely used in popular local cuisines all over India, and is great in reversing illnesses of the stomach, liver, kidney, and skin. It belongs to the cucumber and squash family and helps cure fever, jaundice and diabetes. It is rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory qualities. It helps get rid of accumulated toxins in the kidneys, enhances the digestive system, and prevents allergies and breathing problems such as asthma. It has an expectorant quality that helps in loosening phlegm or mucous secretions from the respiratory tract. Snake gourd helps eliminate body wastes and kidney stones. It is a non-starchy vegetable that is low in calories and is great for weight loss because of its high water and fiber content. The antioxidants and gallic acid present in it help remove harmful free radicals and alleviates moods, stress, depression and anxiety. It is also great at reversing acid reflux and PCOS.

Recipe credit: Darshana Muzumdar

Serves 4 people as a part of an Indian meal.


  • ½ kg snake gourd
  • ½ cup Bengal gram flour (besan)
  • 1 large onion
  • 2-3 green chillies
  • 1 large handful coriander leaves
  • 4-6 garlic cloves
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp garam masala or amti powder
  • ½-1 tbsp jaggery
  • 1½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 1½ tbsp groundnut oil
  • Salt to taste


Wash the snake gourd and cut it into 2 inch (5cms) long pieces and then cut it lengthwise into half. Remove the seeds and core and keep it aside ready to use. Chop the onions, green chillies, coriander leaves, and garlic finely. Heat the oil and add mustard seeds and wait till they pop. Add the chopped onions and sauté for 2-3 minutes till transparent and soft. Add the chopped garlic and sauté for a minute and then add the besan and fry for around 5 minutes till it releases its aroma and loses its raw smell. Remove the pan from the heat and add all the other chopped ingredients, jaggery, garam masala, turmeric, and salt and mix well. Stuff the gourd pieces with the filling. Place the stuffed gourd pieces in a shallow pan and add ½ cup of water. Cover the pan with a lid and cook on a low flame until the stuffed pieces are well cooked. Add a little more water if necessary to prevent it from burning. Serve hot as part of a traditional meal.

Each stuffed piece can be cut into half and the dish served as a starter at functions though as a traditional dish it is eaten as the vegetable part of a complete meal.

For the Whole-Food Plant-Based (WFPB) version:

Do not use oil. Heat an iron tempering ladle and add the mustard seeds. Once they pop, add the onions and half to one cup of water and cook it well till all the water has evaporated and the onions are soft and translucent. Add the chopped garlic and sauté for a minute or so taking care not to allow the mixture to burn.

Dry roast the besan in a thick bottomed steel kadhai or pot till it loses its raw flavor and releases its aroma. This may take longer than in the oil. Take care not to allow it to become brown or burn.

Use date or raisin paste in place of jaggery. Mash or blend soft or soaked dates with a little water to make date paste. Soak raisins for a couple of hours till they are plump and soft and then blend with very little water to get a thick paste.

Use rock salt or other unrefined salt.

Continue with the rest of the recipe as above.

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