Bottle Gourd, more famously known as Louki or Ghiya in India, is one of those vegetables that absorb the taste of the spices cooked with. And one of the most famous preparations involving a bottle gourd is the one made with lentils. This one from the southern region of India comes with the addition of coconut making the dish rich and creamy. So, there is not just the Lauki Ka Koftay or boring tomato-based curry that can be made out of Bottle Gourd. Instead, try this unique addition of ingredients and see praises coming your way.

A Crop From The Ancient Times Served On Plates Till Date

A Kootu in the southern states of India is referred to as a traditional side dish served at festivals and during celebrations. The unique aspect of a Kootu curry is that is the only curry using roasted coconut as a topping. Typically a Kootu curry always comprises a lentil and vegetable. The word Kootu is derived from the Tamil word Kootu meaning add or mixture/medley. That is vegetables are added with lentils forming the dish making them into a semi-solid consistency.

Tracing the origin of the bottle gourd will take one to South America indicating its presence being around as long ago as 9000 BC. Whereas, other pieces of evidence show that by 7000 BC the bottle gourd was being cultivated in Peru and Mexico.     

And other archaeological evidence points toward bottle gourds being recovered from China and Japan from the era dating to ca. 8,000–9,000 B.P.

Ingredients:

½ Bottle Gourd

½ cup Toor Dal  

To grind:

½ cup Coconut

2 Green chillies

1 tsp Cumin seeds

¼ tsp Turmeric powder

Water

Salt

1 tsp Jaggery

To temper:

1 tbsp Oil

½ tsp Mustard seeds

½ tsp Urad Dal

A few Curry leaves

¼ tsp Hing

Method:

Chop the bottle gourd into cube size pieces and keep it aside. In a separate bowl wash and soak the toor dal in water. To this add the chopped bottle gourd. Place it in the pressure cooker over medium heat and let it steam for three-four whistles.

Meanwhile, in a grinder add coconut, green chillies, cumin seeds, and water as required. Grind this into a fine paste and keep it aside.

Now transfer the cooked dal and bottle gourd into a pan with half a cup of water. To this add turmeric powder, salt, and the grounded paste. Give this all a good mix and let it boil. Then add the curry leaves, and jaggery, and mix again. Let it simmer for about five to six minutes.

Meanwhile, in another pan add oil, mustard seeds, urad dal, hing, and curry leaves. Fry until it splutters then pour over the Bottle Gourd curry. Mix well and serve.

A bit of a task to prepare this mix of Bottle Gourd and lentils, but will be a hit on the dinner table for its simplicity of spices. The best part about this preparation is that the gourd is used after the removal of seeds and the fact that both are steamed together.