Bottle Gourd Curry
Lauki (Dudhi) ki Sabji/Bhaji
Lauki or Dudhi or Ghia, botanical name Lagenaria siceraria, is a North Indian Sweet Gourd, also known as Bottle Gourd, White-flowered gourd and Calabash gourd. It is from Cucurbitaceae or cucumber family and it is light green in colour. It's texture is a bit firmer than the ordinary marrow. When fully mature, its fibrous texture is used as Loofah.
It is one of my younger daughter Neeta's (and mine) favourite vegetables. It is an easy dish to make. Serves 3-4.
500 gm. lauki (one medium sized lauki)
20 gm. or 1 heaped tsp. grated ginger
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
A couple of fresh red or green chillies sliced. Red one look nicer
1 tbsp. cooking oil
1 tsp. cumin seeds*
A large pinch of asafoetida or hing
1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
1 tsp. coriander powder
1/6 tsp. or less chilli powder
1/2 tsp. Garam Masala powder (use less if using home made garam masala)
Salt to taste
A handful of fresh coriander leaves, washed and chopped (optional)
Wash, peel and slice lauki into cubes.
Heat oil in a wok or karahi.
Add cumin seeds and hing/ asafoetida powder and let it splutter.
Add ginger and fry for 15-20 seconds. Do not let it burn.
Add lauki and all the spices, except garam masala.
Stir fry for a few minutes.
Stir in tomatoes, reduce heat and cook covered until tender. If the lauki is fresh, you need to add water. If you have a pressure cooker, add 1/4 cup of water (to make steam and stop the lauki from stick to the pan) and cook under full pressure for 3-4 minutes.
Add garam masala powder and half the coriander leaves and mix.
Serve hot, garnished with the remaining coriander leaves, with fresh Chapatties.
*This dish can also be cooked with a South Indian style of tempering or tarka. Use mustard seeds instead of cumin seeds and add 7-8 curry leaves at step 3. Experiment with other 'tarkas', like with nigella (kalonji) seeds or even with Panch Pooran.
Lauki is an easy to digest vegetable. For this reason, it is often given to people recovering from an illness. Use only turmeric and salt when making for sick people. Lauki soup is considered good for digestion.