As summer peaks it gets harder to spend time in the kitchen. But also, Mother Nature makes sure we stay hydrated by flooding us with the best summer bounty. Most veggies available through summer have a high water content, amongst other nutrients,making them easy to digest and having a cooling effect on our system . The gourd family is one such . Vegetables from this family such as cucumbers, loofah, pointed gourd, bottle gourd are all high in water and fibre, making them an almost complete meal in themselves.
Bottle gourd is one such staple summer veggie in our household . It is a popular vegetable in the south and south east asian region where summer gets extremely hot and sultry. Growing up, this vegetable featured regularly on our menus through the week during summer. Many of us from India also know it as Lauki. It is usually not a very well liked vegetable due to its watery taste , but if prepared well most people do grow to like it , like my fussy husband has 😉
I remember enjoying it with hot ghee rice and chilled yogurt on a hot summer afternoon with some raw onions mixed with pickle masala on the side.
Although very healthy, the veggie is low on protein.But that problem gets addressed as soon as you add Chana daal (split chickpeas) to it. It also makes for a much more delicious one pot meal. Using mustard oil enhances the flavour mutiple-fold but feel free to use the oil of your choice .
Another key ingredient is fenugreek seeds. They are well known for their multiple benefits . However one needs to be careful while cooking with fenugreek as using an excessive amount makes the food bitter and so does overcooking it.
Using a pressure cook reduces the cooking time to a great extent, however you could use a normal thick bottomed wok as well.
I peeled and cubed a small sized bottle gourd and kept aside. Then to hot oil I added fenugreek (methi)seeds,finely chopped garlic, asafoetida and green chilies (as per taste) and sautéed on medium-low flame for a few seconds making sure the methi doesn’t burn
To that I added pre-soaked Chana daal (washed and soaked in water for 30 minutes) and turmeric and mixed everything well
Last step- added the cubed bottle gourd and salt, mix and pressure cooked for 5 minutes till the pressure set in. Then turned off the heat and let the pressure release on its own and took off the lid and cooked till the water (good quality bottle gourd releases a lot of water) reduced to desired consistency.
If you are using a normal wok, just cover and cook till done, keeping the flame to medium low and stirring intermittently. There is no need to add additional water .
This curry is enjoyed best with hot rice and daal but tastes good with chapatis too.
- Lauki/Bottle Gourd, cubed- 1 small size (1.5 cups)
- Pre-soaked Chana Daal/Split Chickpeas)- 2 tbsp
- Finely chopped garlic -4 pods
- Green chilies-1-2 or as per taste
- Methi/Fenugreek seeds-1 tsp
- Asafoetida-1/2 tsp
- Turmeric-1 tsp
- Salt-1.5 tsp or as per taste
- Mustard oil-1 tbsp or any oil of choice
- Heat oil in a pressure cooker or a thick bottomed wok then reduce flame and add asafoetida, fenugreek seeds, green chilies and garlic and sauté for a few seconds till the fenugreek seeds start to release an aroma and change colour . Make sure to stir continuously and not increase the flame as the seeds burn fast and that would spoil the dish
- Then drain and add pre-soaked chana daal and turmeric seeds and mix well
- Finally add the chopped bottle gourd and salt and pressure cook for 5 minutes from the time pressure sets in
- Then turn off the heat and let the pressure release on its own and take off the lid and cook till the water (good quality bottle gourd releases a lot of water) reduces to desired consistency.If you are using a normal wok, just cover and cook till done, keeping the flame to medium low and stirring intermittently. There is no need to add additional water .