Tinda is a vegetable belonging to the Praecitrullus genus and bears some similarity to the squash. It is grown in South Asia and is also known as Indian Baby Pumpkin, Indian round gourd as well as apple gourd. The Rajasthanis know it as tindsi, while Dhemase is the Marathi name for the vegetable.
The gourd grows on vines and is seasonal in yield. The vegetable is usually available during the monsoon season, in India and adjoining Pakistan. Frozen tindas as well as their packaged seeds are available throughout the year. The gourd is round in shape and contains edible seeds which are roasted before eating. The flesh is usually white and tender when immature. The vegetable becomes increasingly fibrous as it matures, making it impossible to be consumed in the ripe state. It is believed to a good source of Vitamin A and is the only vegetable belonging to the Praecitrullus family and cannot be classified into different Tinda types.
The vegetable is used to prepare a variety of curry dishes and is particularly popular in North India and Pakistan. The immature, green fruit grown on vines is usually used for cooking. It is also pickled and served with other Indian dishes. The taste of the Indian baby pumpkin is slightly sour and bland. It makes a useful addition to mixed vegetable dishes as it can significantly add to the volume without altering the taste. Cooking the gourd in a microwave helps in preserving its green color.
Popular Tinda Recipes
- Tinda Karahi- This is a Pakistani dish also relished in the Northern part of India. The round gourd is cooked with dry spices and onion paste especially in the monsoon season when the vegetable is plentiful. Dried mango powder is sprinkled on the dish which is served with a garnish of fresh coriander leaves.
- Tinda Curry- A watery curry prepared with potatoes and tomatoes in addition to the green apple gourd, is commonly eaten in the Indian States of Punjab and Delhi during the hot summer months.
- Bharwa Tinda- A dish of stuffed Tinda which is slit cross wise and filled with a hot and sour spice mix before being cooked in a gravy.
- Tinda Dal- This is a Punjabi dish which involves cooking legumes with pieces of potatoes, tinda and tomatoes cut into large sized chunks. The dish also uses tamarind pulp which makes it sour in taste.
- Sweet Pickled Tinda- The gourdis made into a sweet pickle by adding spices including mustard powder along with jaggery. It is usually preserved in a jar and exposed to the sunlight for several days consecutively before consumption.
The fruits of the Tinda vine become ready for picking within 45-50 days of sowing the seeds.