Kashmiri Al Yakhni – Gourd in Spiced Yoghurt

This recipe was originally posted in May of 2015 which really seems a long time ago 🙂 In this crazy winter of 2020, I have now updated the recipe with new images and process. The difference this year is that I am now making all my yoghurt at home and connecting with how the spices tastes and opposed to how much. Follow your taste and smell to get your dish just right. It is all about the senses and the “how much” is just directional. Do make the recipe and enjoy 🙂


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 recipe….not spicy and not greasy. You can however raise the taste by adding a bit of Ghee at the end. The turmeric will dictate the color so adjust accordingly.

Remember the yoghurt is key here so if you have a good homemade tart yoghurt like I did it will add to the taste. Use full fat yoghurt and don’t forget to whisk it as it comes to boil 🙂 A little bit of starch helps emulsify and not separate the yogurt. I have added that to my recipe but you may be fine without it.

I will say that my key ingredient here is the dried crushed mint. I dry the mint in my garden all year and it is the most beautiful herd ( quite different from the fresh one).

I will post some photos of the floating gardens of Kashmir and walk you through this recipe.


Here is what your need:

Al Yakhni

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Print

A nourishing and delicious Kashmiri recipe of gourd in a yoghurt sauce


  • I medium sized bottle gourd (Lauki) peeled, seeds removed and cut in chunks
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk yoghurt
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 6 green cardamons
  • 2 black cardamons
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 tsp dry ginger powder
  • 1 tsp dry fennel powder
  • 2 inch cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp dried mint
  • 1 tsp tapioca starch or flour ( optional)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic ( crushed)
  • 2 -3 tbsp oil to fry the onions and lauki
  • a pinch of black cumin seeds
  • salt to taste


  1. Cooked yoghurt is used here and the process is as follows: Whisk the yoghurt until smooth, add a cup of water and 1 tsp of tapioca if using ( as emulsifier) and cook on medium heat whisking it until it comes to a boil. The trick here is to keep whisking the yoghurt to prevent from breaking.
  2. Once boiling you can reduce the heat and add the garlic and all the spices ( except the black cumin) and continue cooking on low/medium heat.
  3. While the yoghurt is cooking, fry the onions until golden and grind them to a paste
  4. Pan fry the gourd pieces until they are slightly golden of each side.
  5. The yoghurt should be thick and reduced in size by now, add a cup of water, the gourd and the onion paste.
  6. Allow everything to cook for about 15 – 20 mins on medium until the gourd is tender.
  7. I usually add extra mint at this stage and then top with black cumin seeds.
  8. Serve with rice

Some more Kashmiri Recipes

7 thoughts on “Kashmiri Al Yakhni – Gourd in Spiced Yoghurt

    1. So glad your enjoyed the photos…it’s a magical place 🙂 I hope you do try bottle gourd and its amazing texture and flavors. Thanks so much!

      Liked by 1 person

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