...and 10 dishes from around India that do the humble bottle gourd justice.
BOTTLE GOURD or lauki is a versatile vegetable that has made its way into countless delectable dishes across India… an unsung hero of our cuisine. We’re revisiting an array of local recipes that showcase the true potential of this nutritious vegetable... from comforting curries that warm the soul to crispy snacks that satisfy cravings.
Lauki Chana Dal
This classic North Indian dish combines bottle gourd with chana dal (split Bengal gram) to create a hearty and nutritious curry. The bottle gourd adds a subtle sweetness to the dish, perfectly complementing the earthy flavours of the dal. Seasoned with aromatic spices like cumin, coriander, and turmeric, this curry is a comforting delight that pairs well with steamed rice or roti.
Hailing from the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, Sorakaya Pulusu is a tangy bottle gourd curry that will leave you craving more. The curry is prepared by simmering bottle gourd in a tamarind-based sauce, infused with a medley of spices like mustard seeds, fenugreek, and curry leaves. The result is a lip-smacking dish that perfectly balances the tanginess of tamarind with the mild sweetness of bottle gourd.
Transforming bottle gourd into crispy, golden-brown koftas is a culinary delight. Grated bottle gourd is mixed with besan (gram flour), spices, and herbs to form small balls, which are then deep-fried until they turn crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. These koftas can be enjoyed as a standalone snack or added to a rich tomato-based gravy for a delightful main course.
Originating from the state of Gujarat, Doodhi Muthia is a steamed snack made from grated bottle gourd, wheat flour, and a blend of spices. The mixture is shaped into cylindrical dumplings and then steamed until cooked. Once steamed, the dumplings are tempered with mustard seeds, sesame seeds, and curry leaves, adding a burst of flavours. Doodhi Muthia is a healthy and delicious snack that can be enjoyed with a side of chutney or a cup of masala chai.
A traditional Bengali dish, Lau Ghonto is a flavourful medley of bottle gourd, lentils, and spices. The bottle gourd is cooked with a combination of moong dal (split yellow lentils) and a variety of aromatic spices like cumin, ginger, and turmeric. The result is a hearty and nutritious dish that pairs well with steamed rice or roti. Lau Ghonto showcases the delicate flavours of bottle gourd in a comforting and satisfying way.
Sorakaya Pachadi is a traditional Andhra Pradesh dish made with bottle gourd. It is a tangy and spicy chutney-like preparation where grated bottle gourd is cooked with tamarind, red chilies, and other spices. This pachadi is a perfect accompaniment to rice or dosa and adds a burst of flavours to your meal.
Sorekai Palya, also known as Bottle Gourd Stir-Fry, is a simple yet flavourful dish from the southern state of Karnataka. The bottle gourd is sautéed with a tempering of mustard seeds, urad dal (split black gram), curry leaves, and a pinch of asafoetida. A sprinkle of grated coconut adds a touch of sweetness and enhances the overall taste. Sorekai Palya is a quick and nutritious side dish that pairs well with rice or roti.
Lauki Mor Kuzhambu
Mor Kuzhambu is a tangy and spicy yogurt-based curry that is popular in Tamil Nadu. Adding bottle gourd to this traditional dish brings a unique flavour and texture. The bottle gourd is cooked in a spiced yogurt gravy, tempered with mustard seeds, fenugreek, and curry leaves. The result is a creamy and flavourful curry that is best enjoyed with steamed rice. Lauki Mor Kuzhambu is a delightful way to savour the flavours of bottle gourd in a traditional South Indian preparation.
Lauki Ki Kheer
Indulge your sweet tooth with this delightful dessert made from bottle gourd. Lauki Ki Kheer is a creamy and aromatic rice pudding infused with the goodness of grated bottle gourd. Slow-cooked in milk and flavoured with cardamom, saffron, and nuts, this dessert is a popular choice during festivals like Diwali and Eid. The natural sweetness of bottle gourd adds a unique twist to this traditional Indian dessert.
Lauki Ka Halwa
A rich and decadent dessert, Lauki Ka Halwa is a must-try for those with a love for traditional Indian sweets. Grated bottle gourd is cooked in ghee (clarified butter) until it caramelises, giving it a rich golden colour. The addition of milk, sugar, and aromatic spices like cardamom and nutmeg further enhances the flavours. Garnished with nuts, this halwa is a perfect finale to any meal or celebration.
As seen here, bottle gourd has proven its worth in the Indian culinary landscape. So, the next time you come across this humble vegetable, don't hesitate to experiment and create your own bottle gourd masterpiece.