Kovakai (ivy gourd in English, tindora in Hindi) is a 2-3 inch cucumber like vegetable, but sturdier and makes a great stirfry vegetable. Pairs well with any rice dish (rasam/sambar/yogurt or just plain white rice). My kids' favorite. More ocmmonly available in Indian grocery stores, makes a much-requested appearance in my kitchen whenver kids come home. It can be cut lengthwise or in circles. My kids love it in circles and that's how I always make it.
Heat oil in a kadai/vanali, add mustard seeds and let them pop
Add hing, the kovakai, salt, chili powder and turmeric
Give it a good mix
Add the water, mix it up, and cover with a lid. Turn heat to medium
Cook for about 8 minutes, checking to make sure there is water to cook in. Open, check the kovakai for done-ness. Should be able to easily cut if cooked. If still tough, sprinkle some water and cook for a few more minutes
Take the lid off, and cook on a higher heat (stirfry) to desired crispness for a few minutes.
The curry should be dry and nicely browned/crisp when done. Remove to serving bowl. Enjoy with rice of your choice.
Get your family to pitch in with cutting. My kids or my husband always willingly chop this painstakingly into thin rounds because they love the results.
Sometimes, I sprinkle a little bit of besan (chickpea flour/kadalai maavu) for added crispiness towards the end. Totally optional, do it if you like the flavor of besan - make sure the besan is completely cooked - it can also burn easily, so needs attention while cooking (raw besan will likely cause upset stomach).
While chopping the kovakai, discard ones that are red inside or mushy - it means they are ripe or gone bad. Use crisp green ones. Also discard the ends (a tiny bit on both ends).