Bottle Gourd (calabash/long melon/lauki) is grown for its fruit but widely used as a vegetable. They come in several different shapes with some popular ones that are small and bottle shaped and hence its name. Calabash is also used for utensils in rural areas. In India, the calabash juice is considered to have medicinal values that is good for health. It is usually prepared as wet or semi-dry gravy and sometimes used in sweet preparations such as lauki/dudhi halwa. From what I know, it is advised to boil the bottle gourd for 5-6 mins and drain the water (this is done to avoid catching a cold as it contains cooling properties that could cause a cold). Boil the gourd again using fresh water and add the desired spices. Drain the water and use as required.
This recipe is one of the many that I have learnt from my mom. It is simple yet flavorful.
2 medium bottle gourd, peeled and petite diced
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp chilli powder
Salt, to taste
2 big cloves garlic
1/2 cup unsalted dry roasted peanuts
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp urad dhal
Few curry leaves
In a pan, add the diced bottle gourd and water (enough to soak the vegetable) and allow to boil for 5 mins. Drain the water.
In a same pan, to the bottle gourd, add water, turmeric powder, chilli powder and salt. Let the vegetable boil until it is about 3/4th done. Drain the excess water and set aside.
In a blender, coarsely grind the garlic cloves and roasted peanuts. Keep aside.
In a deep pan, heat oil, add mustard seeds, urad dhal and curry leaves. After the mustard seeds crackles, add the boiled bottle gourd and mix well. Add 1 tsp chilli powder (adjust to taste) and salt to taste. Fry for few minutes until the raw smell of the chilli powder is gone. Now, add the coarsely ground garlic-peanuts mix. Mix all the ingredients together and sauté well. Serve hot as a side for rice or rotis.
Note: For variation, you can use chayote squash and follow the recipe. If you don't like peanuts, you can use coarsely ground roasted split dalia with garlic cloves.
Makes 4-5 servings.