Saadi Lauki: Simple Bottle Gourd Curry

9 Nov

The magic of some recipes lies in exclusion: the dish tastes so good because certain conventional ingredients are knocked off from its making. This recipe of saadi lauki sabzi (simple bottle gourd curry) , passed down from my grandmother’s kitchen, falls in that hallowed category.

Saadi lauki is typically served as a "second" sabzi of an Indian meal; the main sabzi would be a spicier curry like gobi masala or aloo-tamatar. After gorging on Diwali delicacies, I’m sure many of us will be glad of this simple fare :-)

lauki-sabzi-250

You Need:

  • Bottle gourd – 1 medium (the one used here is about 2.5-inch in diameter, 9-inches long)
  • Salt – to taste
  • Water – 1.5 cups
  • Asafoetida powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Mustard seeds – 1 teaspoon
  • Mustard oil – 2 teaspoons

How To:

Peel the bottle gourd and cut it into small cubes.

lauki-chopped

Heat the oil in a kadhai. When hot, add asafoetida and mustard seeds.

lauki-cooking-1

When the mustard seeds have spluttered, slide in bottle gourd cubes. Sprinkle salt. Stir and cook on medium flame for two minutes.

lauki-cooking-2

Add a cup and a half of water – just enough to submerge to bottle gourd cubes.

Don’t add anything else, not even turmeric!

Cook covered on medium flame. Saadi lauki sabzi is done when the bottle gourd cubes are soft but not totally mushy, and the water has dried up. This should take about 15 minutes.

Serve warm and savor the delicate, slightly sweet natural flavor of bottle gourd.

In the picture below: saadi lauki sabzi with chapatis and a tangy potato chutney (recipe coming up soon!)

lauki-sabzi

Notes:

If you aren’t comfortable with mustard oil, you could replace it with another oil of your choice – say, peanut or vegetable oil.

4 Responses to “Saadi Lauki: Simple Bottle Gourd Curry”

  1. Vicky and Ruth November 11, 2013 at 4:15 AM #

    Love to read your recipes, because it inspires me try new flavor combinations. What is Asafoetida powder ?

    • S November 11, 2013 at 8:45 AM #

      Ah, asafoetida! Strong, pungent spice that goes in as tadka ( tempering in hot oil) in many Indian curries and dals. It is usually added in very small quantities at the start of the cooking process. Most Indian pickles use asafoetida as well. It is called ‘hing’ in Hindi.

      Some vegetarians in India don’t eat onion and garlic. Asafoetida is supposed to make up for the missing flavor of garlic.

      You should be able to find it at an Indian store in the US, and if you do, here are some more recipes from my archives that use asafoetida: Dahi Aloo, Tomato Ginger Chutney with Roasted Peanuts and Ridge Gourd Moong Dal.

  2. shital November 14, 2013 at 9:35 PM #

    So true..simple tastes the best! Will surely try this recipe as I really enjoy eating Lauki. Thanks for sharing;)

    • S November 24, 2013 at 10:17 AM #

      Thanks shital :)

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