Dosakai (Indian Cucumber)
Description/TasteDosakai cucumbers are small in size and are round to oblong in shape. The smooth rind is edible, thin, yellow, and is overlaid with hues of green and orange with intermittent stripes and spots. As the cucumber matures, the skin becomes a darker yellow, and the green patches grow smaller. The pale cream to white flesh is firm, watery, and crunchy with small, yellow, edible seeds encased in a slippery coating. The flesh also has a mild, sweet fragrance that is reminiscent of melon. Dosakai cucumbers can be consumed both raw and cooked. When raw, they have an opaque flesh that is semi-sour and tart with slightly bitter seeds. When cooked, the flesh becomes translucent and soft with a tangy, sweet flavor.
Dosakai is available year-round, with peak season in the late fall through winter.
Dosakai, botanically classified as Cucumis sativus, is a small yellow cucumber that is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family along with melons, squash, and gourds. Also known as Kankri or Khira in Hindi, Vellari in Malayalam, Dosekaya in Telugu, and Dosakaya, Dosakai cucumbers are extremely versatile and can be used as pickling and slicing cucumber. Popularly grown in the south-east state of Andhra Pradesh in India and Sri Lanka, Dosakai cucumbers are predominately used for pickling and are also a common home garden plant because they are easy to grow and produce high yields.
Dosakai cucumbers are a rich source of dietary fiber, eliminating toxic compounds from the gut, and also contain vitamins C, E, and K, potassium, and magnesium.
Dosakai cucumbers are best suited for both raw and cooked applications such as stir-frying, sautéing, and boiling. They can be sliced and consumed raw as a snack, or combined with other vegetables for a fresh salad. They can also be used in sambar curry, stews, kootu or stir-fry, kurma, or used as a replacement for potatoes in soup. Some of the most popular dishes in India that use Dosakai cucumbers are Dosakai pachdi, Dosakai paruppu, stuffed Dosakai curry, Dosakai sambar, and Dosakai fish curry. In addition to savory preparations, Dosakai cucumbers can also be sliced and used for pickling. Dosakai pairs well with mustard seeds, curry leaves, turmeric, cumin, ginger, onions, garlic, sesame seeds, coriander, lentils, tomatoes, spinach, green beans, okra, eggplant, eggs, chicken, potatoes, coconut, and mango. They will keep for a couple of weeks when stored in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.
In Andhra Pradesh, the Indian state known for its rich consumption of highly spicy food, Dosakai avakai pickles are a household staple. The pickling process is quick, and the dish is ready in twenty-four hours, unlike the traditional mango pickle which takes a week. Indian pickles are very salty, spicy, and can be added to a wide variety of dishes or consumed as a standalone snack.
Dosakai cucumbers are native to India and the immediate surrounding southern states and regions and have been grown since ancient times. Today the cucumbers are prevalent in southeastern India in Andhra Pradesh and can be found at local markets and in home gardens.
Recipes that include Dosakai. One is easiest, three is harder.