Sponge Gourd is another summer vegetable known by many different names and cooked with many different methods all over Asia. In Vietnam it’s Luffah or Gourd, in China it’s Chinese Okra and in Pakistan it’s called Turai or Tori. It’s used in soups and curries or dipped in gram flour and deep fried for a snack.

It’s a dark green vegetable with high water content and naturally sweet taste, that belongs to the cucumber family which tastes best when small and tender. The fully developed fruit is the source of the scrubbing sponge, hence the name Sponge Gourd.

The first time I cooked it, I had no idea what to do with Turai, though I had eaten it a lot of times before cooked by my mother. So I added water to the curry, it tasted alright when it was done but took unnecessarily long to cook and became a mishmash.

Now that I know my way around it, I find it to be one of the quickest and tastiest vegetable curries, cooked in its own juices and served within 20 minutes.


1 kg Turai/Luffa/sponge Gourd, peeled and sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
3 medium tomatoes,diced
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or sunflower oil
Green chilli pepper and fresh mint leaves for garnish

This Is What You Do:

Add Sponge Gourd to a deep pan, add onions, garlic, tomatoes, salt, red chilli and turmeric. Cook covered on low heat, for 10-15 minutes.

There is no need to add water as juices from Turai and tomatoes are enough to cook the curry.

When the vegetables are tender and juices reduced to your required quantity, add oil and let simmer another 2 minutes uncovered.

Garnish with green chilli pepper and fresh mint leaves. Serve hot with steamed rice or roti .

Serves 2

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