Let’s go back to Kashmir…the crossover time between spring and summer. Lauki or “Al” or bottle gourd starts to take seed in the floating gardens. I brought seeds with me last summer and planted them here in the north eastern climate of the US. I have tiny little plants growing now and am excited to see the results.
Also known as Bottle Gourd, this vegetable is 96% water but full of health benefits with healing properties. You can find it in your local international store.
Yakhni denotes a yoghurt based sauce. This recipe for the bottle gourd is subtly spiced with fennel and dry ginger powder. This is a light spring time recipe….not spicy and not greasy, just right to enjoy with rice under a breeze.
I will post some photos of the floating gardens of Kashmir and I walk you through this recipe.
- I bottle gourd (Lauki) peeled, seeds removed and cut in chunks
- 2 cups whole milk yoghurt
- 8 green cardamons
- 3 black cardamons
- 2 tsp dry ginger powder
- 2 tsp dry fennel powder
- 2 inch cinnamon sticks
- 1/2 tsp tumeric
- 1 tablespoon garlic ( crushed)
- Canola oil to fry the lauki
- a pinch of black cumin seeds
- salt to taste
Putting it together:
Yoghurt is best when precooked. Beat the yoghurt until smooth, add half cup of water and cook on medium heat beating it to a smooth consistency for about 10 mins. Put aside.
Fry the gourd in shallow pan until just lightly pale brown.
In a heavy bottomed pan add about 3 cups of water and all the spices ( except cumin) and garlic. Cook for 10 minutes. Add the cooked yoghurt and the gourd. Cook over medium heat until the lauki is soft and tender and the sauce has thickened. Turns off the heat and add the cumin. Mix well.
Serve over hot rice.