Dudhi/Lauki Ki Sabzi (Bottle Gourd Curry)
Photo by Vinita Punjabi
- 1 small bottle gourd (lauki) – unpeeled, cut into cubes (to make 2 cups of cubes)
- ¾ cup water
- ⅛ tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
- ⅛ tsp asafoetida (hing)
- 1 tsp unrefined salt
- Fresh coriander leaves, for the garnish
For the Masala
- 2 red chillies, broken into small pieces
- 1 heaped tbsp sesame seeds (til)
- 1 tbsp split pigeon peas (tuvar dal)
- 1 tsp coriander (dhania) seeds
- 1 tsp fennel seeds (saunf ) – can be substituted with cumin seeds (jeera)
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled (optional)
- ¼ cup roasted peanuts
For the Masala
Dry roast the ingredients from red chillies through garlic. Once the dal turns golden, turn the heat off, cool and grind in small dry grinder, with a handful of roasted peanuts. If you don’t have roasted peanuts, then first roast peanuts separately, as it takes longer than the other ingredients. Grind to a coarse powder and keep aside.
For the Curry
Heat the water in a heavy pan. Bring it to a boil with turmeric powder, salt and asafoetida. Add the bottle gourd cubes and cook for 5-7 minutes, until the pieces are soft, but retain their shape. There may be some water left in the pan. Do not drain it. Alternatively, steam the bottle gourd pieces and add to half the quantity of water with turmeric, salt and asafoetida.
Add the ground masala powder to the cooked gourd pieces in the same pan. On low heat, mix the cooked gourd with the masala. The excess water will be absorbed by the powder. Add a little more water if needed.
Taste for salt and garnish with coriander. This dish will pair fantastically well with chappatis (Indian flatbread) or even dosai (Indian crepe), maybe even bread.
Note: You won’t miss the oil at all here, for the natural oils in sesame seeds and peanuts give it a rich taste. You may try this with any other squash or gourd – for example, zucchini.