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.
Here is what your need:
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.
In the series of Kashmiri chutneys, this one is a little unusual and delightful. Made with boiled bottle gourd (Lauki), yoghurt and a dash of honey, it brings a slight sweetness to the table of spicy food.
One small gourd or pumpkin – peeled and chopped
About 8-10 cloves of garlic
1 cup of organic greek yoghurt ( or regular yoghurt hung for a few hours in muslin)
2 tbsp organic honey
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black cumin
a few strands of saffron crushed
1 tbsp of yellow raisins
chopped cilantro and mint leaves for garnish
Boil the gourd and garlic until tender. Drain the water and remove the garlic when cool. You can leave a couple of pieces of garlic in there. Put it in a sieve or muslin and squeeze the water out.
Add this to the yoghurt and mix the other ingredients.
Serve as a side topped with black cumin and cilantro/mint leaves.
Lauki is a wonderfully delicious vegetable and continues to be one of my favourites. Also known as Bottle Gourd, this vegetable is 96% water but full of health benefits with healing properties. I have made many variations of it ranging from Kashmir down to the south.
This is pretty common in indian household and is rich in plant based protein and nutrients
I bottle gourd or Lauki ( peeled and sliced in chunks)
I cup Chana Dal
fresh herbs – curry leaves, mint and cilantro
lemon or lime
2 whole red dried chillis, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp tumeric, 1 tsp coriander powder, 1 tsp cumin seeds, pinch of asafoetida(hing), 1/2 tsp red chilli powder, 1 cup of chopped tomatoes.
Soak chana dal in water for a couple of hours . Drain. Boil chana dal and lauki with salt, turmeric powder and one cup of water till done ( I used a pressure cooked for about 5-7 minutes). Heat oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds, red chillies and asafoetida and cook for a minute. Add red chilli powder, coriander power. Add tomatoes and cook till they soften and there is a sauce like consistency. Add the cooked chana dal and lauki and stir. Add fresh chopped mint, cilantro and juice of 1 lime. You can also top it with some curry leaves if you have them