Tag Archives: bottle gourd

Bottle gourd Curry (Doodhi/Lauki kadi)

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There is immense joy in putting your heart and soul to offer your love to someone.

There is immense joy in putting your heart and soul to offer your love to someone. And I offer my love through food. It was way back somewhere in early 2011 that I started making soups. For my cousin who had just delivered a couple of months ago. For me healthy soups were essentially about boiling vegetables, adding flavours and pureeing them to a smooth soupy consistency. It was well received. But she moved out and then I completely forgot about it. It was only when my dad was back home after a series of surgeries that I wanted to make something for him. Mom was quick to suggest that the doctors mentioned bottle gourd being good for him. And I made the bottle gourd and tomato soup. Time passed by, dad was well and I completely forgot about soups, again!

Only until recently, when I was in the home-cooks dilemma of what to prepare for the next meal, utterly bored of just adding chopped bottle gourd to daals when I suddenly thought of soups. But to include it in our family meals it just had to be something more. So off I was to give the humble bottle gourd another avatar. I hope you will find it as comforting as I do.

I am growing quite fond of the Bottle gourd. I find its simplicity charming. What attracts me is its versatility, such that with utmost ease it can be made into a sweet or a savory dish. Previously, I have blogged about baking the Bottle gourd and clove tea cake and this time I chose to cook something savoury. What makes this recipe different is that cooked bottle gourd itself is pureed to make it into a thick gravy.

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Bottlegourd Curry:
(Serves approx. 4)

Ingredients:

Oil 1 tbsp
Cumin Seeds 1/2 tsp
Onion 1 medium
Garlic -Ginger paste 1/2 tsp
Tomato 1 medium
Turmeric 1 tsp
Bafat Powder 1 tsp
Coriander powder 1 and 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder 1/2 tsp
Bottle gourd 1 (approx 360 gms when peeled, deseeded and chopped)
Salt to taste (approx 2 tsp)
Water 2 cups (for pressure cooking)
Coriander leaves chopped (approx 1 tbsp) for garnishing

Method:

In a pressure cooker, add oil. When it is hot, add cumin seeds. When it sizzles, added chopped onion and garlic-ginger paste. Saute it till the onion is translucent. Add all the spice powders and saute for 30 secs. If it sticks to the cooker, add 1 tbsp of water. Add tomato, salt and allow it to cook. After a minute or so when the tomatoes are soft, with the back of the spoon gently mash the tomatoes. Add the bottle gourd and water, pressure cook it for 1 whistle. After a whistle immediately switch off the gas and allow it to cool for 10-15 mins.

Once it has cooled, transfer some of the bottle gourd and onion/tomato mix into a blender. Leave some pieces behind. You can take little of the soupy water as well and blend it to a smooth puree. Add the puree back to the soupy liquid. Prepare for tempering.

For Tempering: (OPTIONAL)

Oil 1 tbsp
Mustard Seeds 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves 6-8
Garlic 3-4 small pods crushed
Dried red chillies (small round/ boriya mirch) 2

Take oil in a tempering dish. Add mustard seeds, when it begins to splutter add curry leaves, garlic and dried chilles. When the garlic browns a little, add this to the curry and cover for about a min.

Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Serve with steamed rice, papad and pickle.

 

Bottle gourd, clove and yoghurt tea cake

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What would a cake be without the essence that uplifts it? The essence that renders a mellow yet significant depth of flavour. The essence that distinguishes bakes from merely being a lump of sugary/ floury substance. It is no wonder that vanilla forms an integral part of most bakes. Another powerful addition that renders it another dimension is that of spice.

Consider cinnamon, with its heady aroma, the woody sweet flavour and the sublime heat that it provides, makes it a favourite among most bakers. Or cardamom, that blends with bakes equally well to lend it another characteristic flavour profile. Or saffron, that enwraps any dessert with royalty. With such capabilities of making its presence felt even with the almost negligible quantity, the spice addition, I feel remains the unrecognized hero of the baked dish/desserts.

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Recently, I was toying with the idea of using spice for baking. But I had the desire to explore more rather than just going by the universal favourite, cinnamon. I must tell you now, that of all spices, Cloves are my favourite. And aren’t the little dried flower like things a pretty sight as well? Cloves are slightly more pungent compared to cinnamon or cardamom and so I was curious to find out details, from what I could bake using cloves to the different possible flavour combinations. Did you know cloves pair up excellently with bananas and oranges?

I took a few cloves in my hand, inhaled the aroma, popped in my mouth and rolled it around, while doing my research. And that led me to design this recipe. I baked this beautiful tea cake, with bottle gourd (since I had it at hand, and also something I wanted to try baking with) and yoghurt.

This mildly sweet cake, soft and moist, with a gentle hint of spice can be presented as a perfect accompaniment with tea. Below is the recipe for my Bottle gourd, clove and yoghurt tea cake.

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Recipe: Bottle gourd, clove and yoghurt tea cake
Serves 4 (I used a loaf mould – 8″x 4″)

Ingredients:
125 gms plain flour (maida)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp powdered clove
100 gms butter
75 gms castor sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
75 gms plain yoghurt
100 gms bottle gourd (measured after grating)

Method:

1. Peel, de-seed and grate the bottle gourd.
Very very important note: On grating the bottle gourd, it secretes a brown bitter juice that discolours the grated bottle gourd and alters its taste. Ensure you rinse the grated bottle gourd 2-3 times under running water to wash the bitter juices away. Squeeze out any excess water and leave it to drain in a strainer/ colander.
2. Sift the flour, baking powder and powdered clove in a bowl and keep it aside.
3. In another bowl, beat the butter and sugar till light and creamy.
4. Add the egg and beat to incorporate. Add the vanilla essence and mix again.
5. Add the flour mixture and yoghurt alternately, folding it gently into the batter till incorporated. Starting and ending with flour; F-Y-F-Y-F.
6. Gently fold in the grated bottle gourd and add the batter in a baking mould/container lined with parchment paper. If you do not have parchment paper, you can grease the baking mould with butter and dust some flour on it. This is to avoid the cake from sticking to the container.
7. Bake at 175 degrees Celsius for 25-30 mins.
8. Once done, allow the cake to cool for 5 min and remove it from the baking mould on a cooling rack. Leaving it in the mould longer will make the cake soggy from the condensed steam.
9. Dust with some icing sugar and powdered clove. Cut and serve.

You might also want to check another modern Indian/fusion recipe: Pasta in spinach sauce