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Showing posts with label Lauki. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lauki. Show all posts

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Lauki ka Halwa ( Doodhi ka Halwa )

As a kid I used to wonder aloud about the the perceptible change in the atmosphere during the Puja (Dusshera) season. The slight nip in the air was accompanied with a divine fragrance as if someone had made it a daily ritual of emptying a lot may bottles of perfume all around us during the evenings. Even the nights grew more and more silent. My grandmother who was adept at spinning tales would explain that it was the harbinger of the arrival of Maa and other gods. And she would further support her theory with the argument that the gods and goddesses who were adorned with the heavenly blossoms were the ones responsible for the aura. For years I believed her before reasoning got the better of me and I could attribute the aura to a combination of factors like the cooling of the atmosphere, the steadily dropping humidity levels and the blossoming of a variety of winter blooms. Even the cacophony of the insects which peaked during the monsoons, was slowing fading away as the approaching winter forced most of them into hibernation.

Ever since I moved out of my native, I really miss the Dusshera festivities and also the run-up to the actual event. The shopping for new clothes, watching the idols shaping up, the Pandals being put into place and drawing up the itinerary to cover the maximum number of pandals during those five days would sometimes be even more fun than the actual Pandal hopping. And ofcourse, there was the mandatory 'mela' (fair) and the au rigueur joy-rides which was on every kid's bucket list. At times, growing up is no fun.

Unlike some other parts of India, people in Odisha do not keep as nine day partial fast during Durga Puja. There is the mandatory Ashtami Vrat and some also keep the Navami Vrat but no more. Onion and garlic are prohibited on these two days and people usually prefer to consume Khichdi/ rice and dalma/ puri-alu dum etc apart from fruits. But for people who follow the 'navratri fasting' quite rigorously, it is nine days of subsisting on 'phalahar' or a plant based diet. There are a number of dishes which are religiously prepared during this period. One of them happens to be the 'lauki ka halwa' or bottlegourd halwa. Read on for the recipe -

(For more Navaratri recipes, click HERE)

Preparation Time - 30-35 mins (less if you use a food processor to grate the lauki)

Ingredients -

500 gm lauki/bottle gourd
2 cup milk
2 tbsp sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup milk powder
3-4 tsp sugar
2 green cardamoms (powdered)
a few strands of saffron
1 1/2 tsp ghee
7-8 cashews
12-15 raisins

Preparation - Peel the gourd and chop into big pieces. Grate coarsely leaving aside the center portion containing the seeds.

Cooking - Heat the ghee in a wok. Add the raisins and cashews. Fry for 30-40 seconds before removing from wok.

Add the grated bottle gourd to the wok. Fry on medium high till much of the water evaporates and it starts to turn light brown.

Add the milk and bring it to a boil. Cover with a lid. Allow it to cook on low flame for 6-7 minutes. The bottle gourd would be cooked by this time. If not, cover it again for 3-4 mins.

Finally add sugar, milk powder, condensed milk, cardamom powder and saffron strands. Cook till most of the water evaporates. Add the fried cashews and raisins.

Serve at room temperature or even chilled.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Lau Posta (Bottle gourd in poppy seeds gravy)

How do I classify if a recipe is 'authentic' odia or not ?? How far do I need to travel back in time to unearth its origins ? Now that people keep asking me that question, I have set my own parameters to gauge the authenticity of a recipe. If it was a dish that my 'Jejema/Dadi' or 'Aai/Nani' used to cook up, then I deem it as authentic else i contribute it to external influences. It is not a foolproof yardstick as both my grandmothers spent the better half of their adult lives in a place like Rourkela which has a very cosmopolitan feel to it. You find a lot of Bengalis, Biharis, people from the North and South alike due to the presence of SAIL in the city. But still they would have learnt a lot of cooking from their respective mothers ( girls in those days were trained in the kitchen at a very young age ) and picked up the nuances of regional Odia cooking.

However, I cannot say the same for the next generation ( my Mom, MIL, mausi, etc ) who were influenced to a great extent by magazines like Women's era, Grihalakshmi and the sort. Now this would vary from person to person given the kind of environment that they were exposed to. Not very accurate, many would argue. I agree on that point.  Given some kind of documentation, things would be easier to decide but sadly Odia recipes are not very widely published. One might find something written in Odia but it is difficult to find a good book that has been written in English. That acts as a hindrance for some people of my generation who are not very fluent in the written word owing to a convent school background within the state or maybe because their fathers were working in another part of the country or even abroad. But with a lot of Odia blogs coming up these days, things are looking brighter and better.

Coming to the recipe that I am sharing today, I first read about it in a Facebook group. It is very similar to the 'Janhi-Posto' but cooked using the traditional 'batibasa' method. Very easy and quick to make and quite delicious tasting too. Read on for the details -

Preparation Time - 20 mins

Ingredients -

  • 1 small bottle gourd (peeled and diced)
  • 1 medium sized potato (peeled and diced)
  • 1 medium sized onion (cut into small pieces)
  • 10 garlic flakes
  • 1 medium sized tomato ( finely chopped)
  • 2-3 green chilis
  • 2 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1/3 tsp turmeric
  • 1/3 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp mustard oil + extra for drizzling later
  • 1-2 tsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp badi chura ( urad dal vadis, fried and crushed )
  • salt to taste

Preparation - Dry grind the poppy seeds with 1 green chili and 7 garlic flakes. Then add little water and grind again to get a smooth paste.

Take the chopped vegetables, chopped onion, slit green chili, turmeric, red chili powder, mustard oil, bay leaf, half of the cilantro, poppy seeds paste and salt in a wok. Add 1/2 cup water and mix well.

Cooking - Put the wok on a low flame and cover with a lid.

Stir once or twice in between. Do check for water and top up with more hot water if it is catching at the bottom. ( Usually the vegetables leave a lot of water and extra water will not be required )

Once the vegetables are cooked through, add some more mustard oil (another 1-2 tsp), crushed garlic flakes and chopped cilantro. Give a stir and remove from flame.

Garnish with the badi chura just before serving.

Enjoy with white rice or even rotis.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Lau Raee

Today I am back with yet another Lauki recipe. No matter how much I experiment with it, I am not getting over this wonderful vegetable. Subtly flavored and with a high water content, it imbibes the added flavors rather easily. Read on for the recipe:

Preparation Time-20-30 mins

Ingredients - 4 cups chopped lauki, 1 medium sized tomato chopped, 1 medium onion chopped, 1/2 tsp pancha-phutana or mustard seeds, 1 dry red chilli, 1/3 tsp turmeric, salt to taste, 2 tsp oil, 2/3 cup grated coconut.

For the mustard paste: 2 tsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 5-6 garlic cloves, 1 red chilli.

Preparation: Grind the mustard, cumin and red chilli into coarse powder in dry state .Then add a little water along with garlic flakes and grind again into a fine paste.

Chop the onion and tomato into small pieces.

Cooking: Heat 2 tsp oil in a wok. Add the broken red chilli and mustard seeds.

Add the chopped onion and stir fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the chopped tomato and cook till it softens.

Add the mustard paste along with 2 cups water. Add salt and turmeric, and bring to a boil.

Add the lauki/bottle gourd pieces and cover with  a lid. Cook till the lauki softens. (Do not throw away excess water as this curry tends to be watery.)

Garnish with grated coconut and serve with rice and dal.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Lau santula

This is one of the classic oriya recipes. It is a must have for a postpartum diet and elderly people. Also, since it is a low calorie recipe, it is good for all of us who will be trying to lose some pounds after the festival season is over. Read on:

Preparation Time - 10-15 mins

Ingredients - 4 cups peeled and diced bottle gourd, 1 medium sized onion, 3-5 garlic flakes, 3 tsp chopped coriander leaves, 2 dry red chillis, 1/2 tsp pancha phutana, salt, turmeric, 2 tsp oil.

Preparation - Boil the lauki in a pressure cooker with a little salt and turmeric for 1 whistle. Remove from flame and allow steam to escape. Do not throw away the excess water.

Chop the onion into small pieces. Crush the garlic flakes.

Cooking - Heat oil in a wok.

Add the pancha-phutana and broken red chilli . Once the chilli changes it color, add the chopped onion. Fry till translucent.

Add the boiled bottle gourd along with excess water. Cook for 2 mins

Add the crushed garlic and coriander leaves. Remove from flame.

Serve hot with whole wheat/multigrain rotis of a wholesome meal.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Dahi Lau ( Lauki ka raita )

'Kitne ka hai Bhaiya ?', I asked the neighbourhood vegetable vendor. 'Chalis de do madam', he replied with a grin. Forty rupees a kilo for the very humble lauki, I exclaimed. There was a time when my mom used to run after us to feed us lauki-chana or lauki santula and we would go to any lengths to avoid it. But I guess the growing years and Baba Ramdev's claims about this wonder vegetable has turned me into a new leaf. This vegetable is touted to have myriad health benefits ranging from curing heart diseases, lowering blood pressure, curing jaundice,treating gastrointestinal disorders and improving liver function. With 96 percent water and just 12 calories per 100 grams, it is very helpful if you are on a weight loss diet.

Just like another superfood 'Spinach aka Palak', I keep trying to incorporate it regularly in my meals. So, here is another lauki recipe:

Preparation Time - 10-15 mins

Ingredients -

  • 3 cups (peeled and diced) bottle gourd/lauki/doodhi
  • 1 cup fresh yogurt/curd 
  • 1 small onion (optional)
  • 2-3 green chillis
  • a pinch of asafoetida
  • 3 tbs freshly grated coconut
  • 1/2 mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • a sprig of curry leaves
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tsp oil

Preparation - Boil the bottle gourd in a pressure cooker with a little salt for 1 whistle. Remove from flame and keep aside to cool. Do not throw away excess water.

Chop the onion into small pieces.

Take the yogurt in a mixing bowl and add salt, chopped onion and coconut. Beat lightly.

Cooking - Heat oil in a small pan. Add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Allow to splutter and then add the broken green chilli and curry leaves. Add asafoetida after 30 seconds and switch off flame.

Add the tempering to the beaten curd along with boiled bottle gourd pieces and some of the excess water. Mix well.

Serve with rotis or rice and dal.

Note - This is a popular item during Navratri but without the onions.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Lau chopa bara / pakoda

Cooking Time Required: 10-15 mins
Cost of Preparation: 15-20 Rupees

Ingredients: Lau chopa ( bottle gourd peels, 1 cup ), besan ( gram flour , 1 cup ), onion ( 1 small ), jeera-lanka powder ( 1/3 tsp ), curry powder ( 1/5 tsp ), green chillis ( 1-2 nos ), finely cut coriander leaves ( 2 tsp ), oil for deep frying, salt, baking powder ( 1 pinch ).

Preparatiion: Wash the peels and cut into thin strips.

Take the besan, curry powder, jeera-lanka powder , baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl along with a little amount of water. The paste should be of a thick consistency.

Add the finely cut lau peels, green chilli, coriander leaves and onions to the paste and mix well.

Cooking: Heat the oil in a wok.

Shape the paste into small balls and add to the wok in batches . Fry till the balls turn a uniform golden brown on all sides .

Remove from the wok and keep on a blotting paper.

Serve hot as a snack with tomato sauce.

Bottle Gourd

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Lauki ki Burfi ( Lau burfi )

Cooking Time Required: 15-18 mins
Cost of preparation: 15-20 mins


  • 2 cups lauki/bottle gourd pulp
  • 1-2 tbsp sugar (adjust as per taste)
  • 2 tsp ghee  
  • 1 tbsp sweetened condensed milk
  • 4-5 almonds

Preparation: Ground the lau into a smooth paste in a mixer-grinder. Do not throw away any excess water.

Cooking: Heat 1/ tsp in a wok. Cut the almonds into small pieces and add to the wok. Fry lightly and remove from wok.

Pour the remaining ghee into the wok. Add the lau/lauki paste. Cook till the ghee leaves the sides of the wok ( takes about 8-10 mins ).

Add the sugar and condensed milk at this stage . Cook for 2-3 mins till the sugar gets dissolved.
Add the fried almonds and remove from the fire. Allow to cool down slightly.

Take a steel thali/plate and spread the paste into a uniform layer having a thickness between 5-8 mm. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Remove from the fridge and cut into desired shape. Serve .

Note : This makes for 4-5 burfis.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Lau ( Lauki ) Chopa Raee

Cooking Time Required: 15-20 mins
Cost of Preparation: 10-12 Rupees

Ingredients: Lau chopa/lauki peels, potato ( 1 no., medium ), mustard ( 2/3 tsp ), garlic ( 5-6 flakes ), mustard oil ( 1 tsp ), salt, turmeric, pancha phutana ( 1/6 tsp ), red chillis ( 2 nos ).

Preparation: Grind the mustard seeds and garlic flakes into a fine paste.

Cooking: Wash and cut the peels into very small pieces. Also cut the potato into very small pieces.

Heat the oil in a wok. Break the red chillis and add to the wok along with the pancha phutana. Add the peels and the potato pieces.

Stir fry for 2-3 mins. Add the mustard-garlic paste, crushed garlic flakes, turmeric, salt and 1 cup water.

Cover with a lid and allow to boil for 10 mins. Add more water if required.

Cook till the potato turns mashy and all the water evaporates.

Serve with rice/rotis.

Bottle Gourd

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Lau ( Lauki ) Pitha

Cooking Time Required: 30-35 mins
Cost of preparation: 25-30 rupees

Ingredients: Rawa ( 2 cups ), lau/lauki/ridge gourd ( cut into large pieces, 2 cups ), freshly grated coconut ( 1 cup ), ghee ( 2 tbs ), sugar ( 1-2 tbs ), cardamon ( 2 nos ), salt ( 1/5 tsp ).

Preparation: Put the lau pieces in a pressure cooker. Cook for 1-2 whistles. Drain excess water if any. Grind to a fine paste.

Wash the rawa and drain excess water. Add the lau paste and the coconut ( cut into small pieces ). Also add sugar, salt, cardamon powder and ghee. Mix well.

Cooking: Grease a baking tray with ghee. Sprinkle some flour to prevent the pitha from sticking to the sides and bottom.

Pour the batter into the baking tray forming a 1-2 inch thick layer. Sprinkle ghee on top of the batter.

Pre heat the oven to 160 degrees. Place the baking tray and cook for 35-40 mins . Remove from oven and allow to cool down completely.

Cut into small squares and serve.

This pitha is very wobbly and sticky when hot. It becomes firm after cooling down.

Bottle Gourd

Monday, January 24, 2011

Khira santula

Cooking Time Required: 15-20 mins
Cost of preparation: 40-50 rupees

Ingredients: Raw papaya pieces ( 2 cups), pumpkin pieces ( 1 cup ), lau/lauki pieces( 2 cups ), janhi ( ridge gourd, 1 cup ), potato pieces( 1 cup ), red chillis ( 2-3 nos), onion ( 1 small), pancha phutana ( 1/2 tsp ), turmeric, salt, khira/milk ( 1/2 cup ), jeera-lanka (cumin-chilli ) powder ( 1/5 tsp ), oil ( 1 tsp ).

Preparation: Cut the onion in small pieces .

Cooking: Heat a wok .Add 1 cup of water along with the vegetables, turmeric and salt. Close the lid and cook till all the vegetables soften.

Add the milk and cook for 2 mins.

Heat the oil in a pan. Add the pancha phutana and red chillis. When the seeds start spluttering, add the onion pieces. Fry till the onion turns translucent.

Pour over the boiled vegetables. Sprinkle cumin chilli powder. Mix well.
Remove from fire after 30 secs.

Delicious and healthy santula is ready to eat. Serve with rotis.

Note: One can also add vegetables like sweet potato/ brinjal/ parwal/raw banana according to ones taste. Using ghee instead of oil adds a lovely aroma to the santula. On osa bara or vrat days this recipe is made without adding the onions.

The milk maybe skipped if one is lactose intolerant.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Lau Chana

Cooking Time Required: 30 mins
Cost of Preraration: 25-30 Rupees

Ingredients: Lau (bottle gourd, lauki)( 200 gm ), chana dal ( 100 gm ), red chilli ( 2-3 nos), pancha phutana ( 1/2 tsp ), ginger ( 1/2 inch,optional ), onion(1 small ), ginger garlic paste ( 1 tsp ), cumin-chilli powder ( 1/5 tsp ) , bay leaf ( 1 no ), garam masala (1/4 tsp optional) oil , salt.

Preparation: Soak the chana dal for 4-5 hours. Put in a pressure cooker. Allow for 3 whistles. Keep aside.

Peel the bottle gourd and cut into small pieces. Put in a pressure cooker and allow for a single whistle. Keep aside.

Cooking: Heat a wok. Add 2 tsp oil and allow it to smoke. Add the bay leaf, red chillis and pancha phutana. Follow it with the onion ( finely cut into long strips). Fry till the onion turns golden. Add the ginger garlic paste and the crushed garlic. Fry for 4-5 minutes.

Add the boiled gourd. Cook for 5-10 minutes. Add the boiled chana dal and bring to a boil. Keep on the boil for 5-6 minutes. Add the garam masala and clode the lid. Remove from the fire.

Serve hot with rotis or rice.

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