8 Must-Try Bengali Dishes Made From Bottle Gourd This Summer

Lau, a versatile vegetable that is frequently used in Indian cuisine, especially in Bengali cuisine, is sometimes referred to as bottle gourd or calabash. When cooked, it has a soft texture and a mild, somewhat sweet flavour. Lau's cooling qualities make it highly prized in the summer and a favourite option for refreshing meals in hot weather. 

Lau Chingri (bottle gourd with prawns), Lau Posto (bottle gourd cooked in poppy seed paste) and Lau Shaker Chorchori (bottle gourd with mixed veggies) are some delectable lau recipes in Bengali cuisine. These recipes showcase the subtle flavour and health advantages of lau.

Here are some of the popular traditional Lau dishes from Bengali cuisine:

1. Lau Posto: 

A classic Bengali dish called Lau Posto is prepared using poppy seeds (posto) and bottle gourd (lau). The poppy seeds give the dish a subtle, nutty flavour and a delicate, creamy texture. Bottle gourd slices are fried with a paste made of poppy seeds, green chillies, and spices to make Lau Posto. The outcome is a tasty and filling dish that tastes great with steamed rice and brings out the richness of the poppy seed paste and the delicate sweetness of the bottle gourd.

2. Lau Ghonto: 

This classic Bengali dish is prepared with lentils, spices, and bottle gourds, or lau. The bottle gourd adds a tinge of sweetness to the dish's subtle flavour. Diced bottle gourd is sautéed with spices like cumin, turmeric, and ginger to make Lau Ghonto. It is then boiled with lentils until it becomes tender. It is typically eaten with rice and topped with fried onions, making for a hearty and nourishing meal.

3. Lau Chingri: 

This is made with prawns (chingri) and bottle gourd (lau). With a touch of sweetness from the bottle gourd and a savoury richness from the prawns, the dish has a subtle flavour. Lau Chingri is made by cooking the bottle gourd until it becomes soft, at which point prawns and seasonings like cumin, turmeric and green chillies are added. The end product is a hearty, tasty dish that goes great with steaming rice.

4. Lau with Moonger Dal: 

This dish combines split mung beans (moong dal) with bottled gourd (lau). The earthy flavour of moong dal balances out the delicate and subtly sweet taste of bottle gourd. Bottle gourd is prepared by dicing it and cooking it with moong dal, tomatoes, onions, and spices like coriander, cumin, and turmeric. The outcome is a tasty and nutrient-dense dish that goes well with roti or steaming rice.

5. Lau Shaker Chorchori: 

This Bengali classic is prepared with various vegetables and bottled gourd greens, or lau shak. It tastes earthy and slightly bitter, with a touch of sweetness from the bottle gourd. Bottle gourd greens are prepared by chopping and cooking them with diced potatoes and pumpkin, as well as spices such as mustard seeds, turmeric, and green chillies. In Bengali cuisine, this meal is tasty and healthful, and it's typically eaten with steaming rice.

6. Lau Khosha Bhaja: 

Bottle gourd peel is used to make the traditional Bengali dish, Lau Khosha Bhaja. It is renowned for having a savoury flavour and crispy texture. It is made by thinly slicing the bottle of gourd peel and marinating it in spices such as cumin, chilli powder, and turmeric. After marinating, the peel is shallow-fried until crisp and golden. In Bengali cuisine, Lau Khosha Bhaja is frequently served as a crispy and tasty snack or side dish.

7. Lau Borir Jhol: 

This is a traditional Bengali dish that consists of bottle gourd dumplings (lau bori) cooked in a flavorful curry (jhol). The flavour of Lau Borir Jhol is aromatic, somewhat acidic, and spicy. The curry's spices and herbs complement the bottle gourd's mild flavour. It is made by cooking spices, chickpea flour, and grated bottle gourd in a tomato-onion sauce seasoned with mustard oil, turmeric, cumin, and other spices.

8. Doodh Lau: 

This classic Bengali dessert features bottle gourd cooked in milk and jaggery or sugar. It has a creamy texture and a subtle, slightly sweet flavour. Bottle gourd bits, sugar, cardamom, and occasionally grated coconut or khoya are boiled in milk to make Doodh Lau. Bengali families frequently enjoy this aromatic and cosy dish during holiday times because the lengthy cooking method allows the flavours to meld harmoniously.