Gentleman’s toes (tindora nu shak)

Gentleman's toes coccina grandis

Tindora are known as “Ivy Gourd” in English, “Coccinia Grandis” in science speak and, according to Wikipedia, are sometimes referred to as “Gentleman’s Toes”.  How deliciously salacious!!!

I like okra which are lady fingers and I like gentleman’s toes which luckily don’t smell or taste cheesy . In fact, these little green veg have very little flavour. So they are bland or they are mild depending on your point of view. My view is they are mild which makes them an ideal side dish. There are many recipes for tindora on the web full of ingredients.I prefer to keep things simple and have two variations: with tomatoes, sesame seeds and curry leaves as a main, without these three when serving as a side dish.

Go for bright green ones with smooth skin. When chopped the flesh inside will be a pale green white colour. Older tindora have crinkly skin and the insides will be turning red.


  • 2 tbs ground nut oil MAX. Anymore and the result will be a very oily dish
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 2 cloves garlic – crushed or finely sliced
  • 1/2 inch ginger finely grated
  • I forgot to weigh but about 3 cups full tindora.
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds – optional
  • 1 tsp salt (nimak)
  • 1 tsp chili powder (murcha)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric (hurder)
  • 1/2 tsp coriander cumin powder (dhana jeeru)
  • 1 medium ripe tomato – optional
  • Lemon juice to taste
  • 4 curry leaves – optional
  • Coriander to garnish


Sliced tindora

  • Wash the tindora thoroughly, makes sure you rub them whilst hold under running water
  • Top and tail the tindora then slice into four as shown above


  • I prefer to cook these in a large frying pan. However, they will cook in a medium cooking pot if you prefer.
  • Over a medium heat, add oil. Once warmed, throw in the cumin seeds and wait for them to start sizzling
  • Add the chilies, garlic and ginger and cook for about 30 seconds until they start browning
  • Add the tindora and sesame seeds (optional). Stir fry for about 5 minutes, turning frequently
  • Add the spices, curry leaves and tomatoes. The latter two are optional. If I have this as a main, I use tomatoes but for a side dish I leave them out to create a wonderful dry dish.
  • Add lemon juice to taste and then cook for a few more minutes until you are satisfied with the consistency. As I like the bite I don’t cook for long.
  • Garnish and serve with rotlis, shak and accompaniments.

Tindora curry