Dahi Wali Lauki: Bottle Gourd Yogurt Curry

23 Jul

Dahi Wali Lauki - Bottle Gourd in Spiced Yogurt

Of late I have been on the lookout for recipes that would put my stock of fennel seeds to good use. I also intend not to restock tomatoes till their price subsides to non-crazy level. My quest came to a satisfying end with this recipe for dahi wali lauki. Easy on the pocket , great to taste, fennel flavored, and no tomatoes.

The recipe broadly follows the ever-reliable Nisha Madhulika’s Kashmiri lauki curry recipe. The main departure is in the way the lauki is cooked (I did not want to deep-fry) and a little switch of ingredients.

Dahi Wali Lauki

You Need:

  • Bottle gourd – 350 grams
  • Green chilies – 2
  • Plain yogurt – 1 cup
  • Salt – to taste
  • Fennel seeds – 3/4 teaspoon
  • Coriander powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Cumin powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Red chili powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Turmeric powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Asafoetida powder – a pinch
  • Coriander seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Cumin seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Cinnamon stick – 1 inch
  • Cardamom – 3
  • Cloves – 3
  • Coriander leaves – 1 tablespoon, chopped
  • Mustard oil – 1/2 tablespoon for cooking the spices + more for shallow-frying

Bottle Gourd, Green Chilies, Yogurt

In the picture above: bottle gourd, green chilies, plain homemade yogurt.

How To Make Dahi Wali Lauki:

1. Prepare the ingredients

Peel the bottle gourd, trim the ends. Cut into thin wedges about 2-inches long.

How to make bottle gourd wedges: Slice the bottle gourd into 2-inch tall cylinders. Halve each cylinder vertically, then slice each half as if along the spokes of a wheel.

Bottle Gourd Wedges

Keep the yogurt unrefrigerated for 1-2 hours before you plan to make dahi wali lauki [cold yogurt tends to curdle when heated]. Beat the yogurt well with salt.

Keep all the dry spices ready: asafoetida powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, red chili powder.

Dry Spice Powders

Grind fennel seeds to powder.

Slice the green chilies finely.

2. Shallow-fry the bottle gourd

Heat a wide non-stick pan with a thin coating of mustard oil. When hot, place the bottle gourd wedges in a single layer. [If the pan does not accommodate all the bottle gourd, cook in batches.]

Shallow-fry on high heat till the surface of the bottle gourd facing the heat has browned a bit.

Bottle Gourd Wedges, Cooking Side A

Flip the wedges over and let the other side brown as well.

Bottle Gourd Wedges, Cooking Side B

When cooked on both sides, remove the bottle gourd wedges from the pan and set aside.

2. Cook the spices

Heat half a tablespoon of mustard oil in a skillet or kadhai.

When the oil is hot, add cinammon stick, cloves and cardamom. Stir and then add cumin seeds and coriander seeds. As soon as the seeds splutter, set heat to low and transfer the dry spices (asafoetida powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, red chili powder) to the oil.

Move the spices around, make sure there’s no charring.

Spices Cooking in Mustard Oil

3. Put it all together

Add chopped green chilies, fennel powder along with shallow-fried bottle gourd wedges to the kadhai.

Mix well to coat the bottle gourd wedges with the spices and cook for another 3-4 minutes.

Bottle Gourd Cooking with Spices

Set heat to low, add the beaten yogurt to the spiced bottle gourd. Add 1/2 to 1 cup of water to thin out the curry. Keep stirring continuously so that the yogurt does not curdle.

When the curry comes to a gentle boil, take it off the heat. Dahi wali lauki is ready.

Stir in chopped coriander leaves.

Dahi Lauki: Bottle Gourd Yogurt Curry

Serve dahi wali lauki hot with chapatis or plain rice.

Dahi Wali Lauki - Bottle Gourd in Yogurt Curry

Notes:

Try other yogurt-based curries: quick dahi aloo, dahi arbi.

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