Field Marrow Foogath (Mogem)

By Published On: 18 Jan '22Last Updated: 20 Jan '22

Field Marrow Foogath is a Mangalorean vegetarian side dish, flavoured with mustard seeds, curry leaves, sambhar powder and coconut. Serve with sambhar, pickle and papads!

Sharing is caring and truly said so, when a dear friend of mine was generous to share her backyard garden field marrow (mogem) with me, I was touched by her generosity. So many homely Mangalorean style preparations came to my mind immediately for example, Field Marrow Foogath, Losun Miri (a curry style preparation with garlic and pepper), Sambhar (a lentil delicacy), dhal etc., Thanks, Jules for that large, luscious and organic mogem and most of all for the friendship behind sharing your bounty!! I just feel closer to people who are eating the same food as I do!

what is a field marrow or Mogem?

Field Marrow is a vegetable also known by a plethora of names such as Mogem, Mangaluru cucumber, oriental pickling melon, Japanese pickling melon, culinary melon, yellow cucumber and Indian yellow cucumber. The people of Karnataka call it ‘Sauthekai‘ and the Tuluva people call it ‘Thauthe‘ (prounced thawu-tey).

It is an all-time favourite vegetable grown in Malnad and coastal Karnataka especially Mangalore, Udupi, Uttara Kannada, Chickkamangaluru, Shivamogga, Coorg Districts, Kerala, Tamilnadu etc., The mid-ripened vegetable is commonly cooked in a curry, in stir fries sometimes with coconut (as in Foogath), added in sambhar or soup, dhal, pickles and also for making dosas. The fully ripened vegetable is hardly used for consumption due to the fruit body being too soft.

A rare gem, a Sydney backyard Field Marrow (Mogem) so kindly shared by my friend Jules. Thanks Jules!!

I have never sighted a field marrow in Sydney in any Indian supermarkets. It was a sheer joy when Jules rang and said she would like to send across one mogem for me. It brought back memories of helping my mum prepare this vegetable in our “Elldun” kitchen. She would sing out in Konkani ‘girope and biyo borey karn kaad‘ (remove the pith and the seeds well). My mum would prepare this vegetable in many ways, but I decided to cook an easy but my all-time favourite recipe, ‘Mogem Foogath’. It’s quick to prepare with only a handful of pantry staples and makes a complete vegetarian meal with home made dhal, pickle or papads or if you want to make a feast with a vegetarian Thali. Other delicious option is to serve it with a non-veg Thali as portrayed in the image below.

Non-Vegetarian Thali featuring mutton roce curry, mutlins, grilled chicken wings, raita, thick sambhar, field marrow foogath, steamed rice and rice crackers

Field Marrow or Mogem is a most commonly used vegetable in India throughout the year. India has a long monsoon season ranging from June to September. Most households stock up for this big wet season during summer (April/May) with certain vegetables that have a long shelf life eg., ash pumpkin (kuvalo), field marrow (mogem) and pumpkin (dudim) and my mum was no exception. My maternal grandma lived in Belman and they grew many grains and vegetables in their large acerage fields. I fondly recall making a special trip to Belman with my mum during the summer school holidays in mid-April, to see my grandma (she loved her grandchildren) who would set aside a dozen of these vegetables to be given to her daughter, as she knew her daughter had many mouths to feed! Although we struggled to transport these three sacks of vegetables to Udupi (approximately an hour by bus then!!), we certainly enjoyed the benefit of cooking them during the rainy season, when there was no fish in sight and things got scarce.

This field marrow (mogem) is a long storing vegetable and has a special feature that, this vegetable like the ash gourd/melon, can be stored for 8 – 10 months without losing its freshness. There is little wonder why our ancestors would have stored only these vegetables for a rainy day! They had good knowledge of thier vegetables I reckon!!

Storing these vegetables was not an easy task, as their shelf life had to be preserved for over 3 months in order to make it through the rainy/monsoon season. The best and the most effective way was to hang them from the exposed beams within the house. Most houses back in the day had tiled roofs and the beams were exposed from the inside. These days most houses are built without tiles and rendered throughout, including the roof. In order to hang them, the vegetables had to be properly secured so they would not have a crash landing when you visited that room. Mind you, crash landings were not uncommon on occasions when the vegetable got rotten on the inside and could no longer hang off the beams!!

Then there was the arduous task of tying them up or firmly binding each of these vegetables to secure them to the beams. The vegetables were secured by firmly binding them either with palm leaves or with coconut fibre ropes, a technique my mother had aced over the years. Thanks to my mum, she had taught me this technique too but sadly I am ashamed to say I have forgotten it. Sorry mum, can I have one more lesson please please!!!

Once they were tied, my brother would climb on to the beams and tie them in a line, almost like an overhead garden, without the foliage of course. I always wished I had a photo of these hanging gardens!!! It was also common to preserve onions and garlic in a similar way to prolong their shelf life during the long wet rainy season. It is one of the greatest methods of prolonging the shelf life of vegetables and I have little doubt this method is used even as of today in the countryside of Southern India.

It was a truly amazing sight to see these vegetables suspeneded from the beams on the ceiling, all in a line and they hung there waiting to be eaten one by one, all through the rainy season. Never seen this spectacular sight anywhere so far!!!

Life is a beautiful thing, and as I grow older I am realising that its the small things that I’ve experienced as a kid and those little memories that I have preserved that make such a big difference to it in the end!

Well, in Sydney, field marrow is an extremely rare vegetable, almost unseen and unless someone grows this vine in their backyard garden, one would never be able to put their hands on it. If you get your hands on this rare marrow vegetable, I would recommend trying out this recipe. Thanks to Jules for making this post possible for me!! God bless Jules!!!

EASY STEPS TO MAKING field marrow foogath

Wash the field marrow well. Using a sharp knife, cut into quarters and remove the pith and the seeds. Then cube as in the image below.

Place the cubed vegetable, along with stock powder, jaggery and tamarind paste in a deep saucepan and add water as per the recipe below. Cook the vegetable al dente (approximately 12 minutes) on medium heat. Add salt and sambhar powder and stir to combine. Cook for a further 3-5 more minutes or until it is cooked to your liking.

While the vegetable is cooking, make the seasoning.

Heat oil in a small frying pan or seasoning dish on low-medium heat. Add the mustard seeds, when they splutter, add the bruised garlic cloves. Let the garlic impart a nice flavour and become light golden. Now add the curry leaves and move away immediately. The curry leaves will splutter when they come in contact with hot oil. When they finish spluttering, remove from heat and set aside till ready to use.

When the vegetable is nearly cooked, add one cup coconut and the prepared seasoning. Although the image is showing two cups coconut, you will need only one cup coconut for this dish. I was making a couple of different dishes, hence I have measured two cups coconut. Close the lid for 3 minutes so the vegetables capture the fragrance. Open and stir to combine. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes or until most of the water has evaporated.

There you go. A yummy vegetarian meal awaits you. You will enjoy this simple yet homely dish with rice, some homemade dhal, roti and pickle or combine with a non-vegetarian curry for a luxurious non-veg Indian feast!!

If you have tried this recipe, I would love to hear your feedback. Please be sure to rate the recipe and/or leave a comment below. If you want to see more recipe inspirations, you can follow me on Instagram @lavina_mendonsa.

Field Marrow Foogath (Mogem)

Catherine Lavina Mendonsa
One of the most traditional Mangalorean vegetarian side dish, this Foogath is an easy, fragrant and slightly spicy vegetarian dry dish. It is flavoured with mustard seeds, curry leaves, sambhar powder and coconut. I learnt to cook this dish from my mum. It's delish served with home made sambhar, pickle and papads!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Indian, Mangalorean
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

  • 1 kg field marrow after cleaning
  • 2 tsp. vegetable stock powder
  • 1 tbsp. jaggery powder or to taste
  • 1 level tsp. tamarind paste optional
  • tsp. salt or to taste
  • 1 tbsp. sambhar powder or to taste
  • 3 tbsp. oil
  • 1 tsp. black mustard cloves
  • 4 small slightly bruised garlic cloves
  • 1 strand curry leaves
  • 100 g freshly grated coconut/unsweetened shredded coconut

Instructions
 

  • Wash the field marrow and cut into quarters. Do not peel as we want the skin. Remove all the seeds and pith. Cube and set aside.
  • Place the cubed vegetable into a deep heavy based saucepan with a lid and add 1½ cups water. Add the vegetable stock powder, jaggery powder and tamarind paste. Stir to combine. Place on medium heat and close lid. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring from time to time. Add salt and sambhar powder (see the Sambhar link below for Sambhar Powder) and cook for a further 5 minutes or until cooked to your liking.
  • When the field marrow is cooking, prepare the seasoning.
  • For the seasoning, heat oil in a small frying pan or a seasoning dish on medium. Add mustard seeds and when they start to splutter, add the bruised garlic cloves. Fry for 40 seconds or until light brown. Add curry leaves and let the curry leaves splutter for 2 seconds. Do not burn. Stay away from the curry leaves for a moment, when they splutter. Remove from heat and add this seasoning to the cooked vegetable. Add the grated coconut. Close lid for 3 minutes. Open and stir well to combine.
  • Simmer uncovered for 3 minutes. Do not overcook the vegetable as we want to have a little bite to it. You can also adjust the seasoning to suit your taste by adding a bit more salt or sambhar powder.
  • Pour into serving dish and serve hot with plain rice, some homemade dhal, pickle and roti (or any Indian bread) as a full vegetarian meal. Also, delicious served with sambhar, rice and papads for a satisfying vegetarian lunch or dinner option.

Notes

  1. You can use store bought Sambhar Powder (MTR brand is quite good) if you do not have home made Sambhar Powder. If you want to make your own Sambhar Powder for one use, please check this link. For those of you who have a copy of ‘Deliciously Indian’, please check the recipe in the “Spice Powders” Section – Recipe on page 206 – Sambhar Powder for Vegetables.
  2. I bought frozen grated coconut from my local Indian grocery store.  If you have fresh coconut at home, you may grate the coconut and use it in step 4.
  3. You can prepare many vegetables such as bottle gourd, ivy gourd, ash gourd, beans etc., in a similar way, but the water quantity to be added in step 2 varies from vegetable to vegetable. Use your own judgment when cooking other vegetables and adjust the water consistency so the vegetables cook comfortably and uniformly without scorching or burning.
Keyword Culinary Cucumber, Field Marrow, Mangalore Cucumber, Mogem, Sauthekai
Lavina with Deliciously Indian

Hi, I’m Catherine!

I’m all about creating tasty Indian dishes with whatever’s on hand, even when I’m short on time or budget. I love turning simple ingredients into flavorful delights. Join me on this culinary adventure where we’ll explore the magic of Indian cuisine, one delicious dish at a time!

3 Comments

  1. Reena Pinto January 20, 2022 at 5:54 pm - Reply

    5 stars
    Love your recipes plus the trouble you take to give detailed recipe and instructions to cooking and your prelude and topping it all are the beautiful pics of your delicious delicacies. You are carrying the torch of the great Mr. Isidore Coelho bright in the field and art of cooking.

  2. Vani achar January 19, 2023 at 2:53 pm - Reply

    This is beyond belief!! I am screaming with joy to know there is atleast one backyard that’s got mangalore southey. I am a Tuluva living in Sydney since 5 years. Since the birth of my daughter (who is now 18 months) I am scouting for our traditional green leaves and veggies to grow in my backyard ????
    If I may ask could you please help to connect with anyone who can spare one so I can sow it for my backyard.
    ????

    • Catherine Lavina Mendonsa January 20, 2023 at 6:04 am - Reply

      Hi Vani

      Lovely to hear from you. Growing Mangalorean vegetables and greens in a Western home garden is such a joy. Harvesting and cooking these delicacies takes you on a journey to your homeland. My friends who grow them are very kind and share their bounty with me. They are overseas and will be returning only at the end of February. I will get in touch with them on their return and check out if they have any seeds that they can share with you. If they do, I will be in touch with you. Keep my fingers crossed!

      Thank you for getting in touch with me and best wishes for a happy and successful new year!

Leave A Comment

Recipe Rating