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Bottle gourd (Lauki, Doodhi) curry

July 27, 2010

My mother, who still lives in my hometown of Mumbai, India, visited me here in Minneapolis a couple months ago. I bid her goodbye at the airport only last Friday and miss her so much! :(

My mother, who to me is the best cook ever, taught me several recipes that she never had a chance to share with me on the phone (what with my control freak detailed questions). The amazing part was, I got to learn hands-on how she prepares food, observing her style and sense of taste, something that is very different from mine now, after several years of living on my own.

One dish she taught me how to make was Bottle Gourd Curry. Also known as Lauki in Hindi (India’s national language) and Doodhi in Gujarati, it is a vegetable that has many uses in Indian cooking. Apart from curries, this fruit of a vine, is also grated and used in varied Indian desserts such as Halwa and Falooda. The vegetable has several health benefits. I found this great article that details them.

Bottle Gourd or Calabash. Photo credit: Wikipedia

Bottle Gourd or Calabash. Photo credit: Wikipedia

Now this is one of the many vegetables I hated as a child. I’ve become a far less fussy eater over the years and motivated by my husband’s love for freshly prepared vegetable curries, I diligently took notes while she made this curry. The method of preparation is a little different from my style with other veggies. Here, special care is taken to get a good curry consistency before the vegetable is added to allow it to cook. To get a thick curry-like dish, tomatoes and onions are cooked on low heat and simmered till they cook down to a paste. Read on to see what I mean.

Doodhi sabzi / Green gourd curry

Doodhi sabzi / Green gourd curry - Here, cooked Channa dal has also been added to the dish

Get a printable version of this recipe here.

You will need:

  • A pressure cooker or other cooking utensil
  • 1 medium size Bottle gourd, available at any Indian store
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tbsp Ginger & Garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp Cumin & Coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp Chili powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Water for cooking
  • 2-3 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • A handful of fresh chopped coriander or cilantro leaves

Method:

To cut the gourd -

  • Slice off the stem portion of the gourd and peel the green skin with a potato peeler. Then, slit it half lengthwise
  • Further halve each side of the gourd
  • You will find that the gourd has a spongy portion in the middle, with several seeds in it. Remove this with a knife or a spoon, leaving the harder portion below it intact. Make sure all the seeds are removed

  • Slice the gourd like so:

To prepare the curry-

  • In a pressure cooker or pot, heat oil on medium heat
  • When heated, add the onions and fry till they soften and are light brown
  • Add the Ginger & Garlic paste and chopped tomatoes and mix well. Cover the utensil, and cook on low heat till the mixture becomes mushy
  • Now add all the dry spices, mix well and cook for about a minute
  • Add about 1/4 cup water, mix well, put on the lid again and allow the mixture to simmer for about 5 more minutes or till a curry like consistency is achieved
  • Finally add the sliced gourd and salt to taste
  • If using a pressure cooker, cook for about 5 whistles on medium heat; If using a pot, add enough water to cover the vegetable, put on a lid and allow to cook for at least 25 minutes, adding water and stirring frequently. You’ll know the gourd is done when it is soft to touch like a cooked potato
  • Once the vegetable is done, add the tomato ketchup (this is my mother’s secret ingredient and it really adds a nice tang to the dish!)
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro and enjoy with your favorite hot Indian flat bread such as naan or roti.

Variation: You can also add cooked Channa daal to make it a truly authentic Indian dish. Soak 1/2 cup Channa daal for 2 hours and pressure cook till they are cooked. Drain and add to the above dish at the end. Simmer for 10 more minutes.

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17 Comments leave one →
  1. July 29, 2010 9:47 am

    I’ve never heard of a Bottle Gourd, but this looks good!

    • July 30, 2010 12:51 pm

      My husband loves eating several vegetables that are native to India and that region. When I moved here, he was shocked I hadn’t heard of so many veggies our mothers used to make everyday! It is amazing how we Indians make really bland but highly nutritious veggies taste amazing with spices and curries.

  2. September 7, 2010 3:30 am

    Hey!! I love reading your blog. And I absolutely love reading and trying out your recipe. I tried out this one yesterday and though I made my sabzi dry, it tasted really good.

    Hope you having loads of fun in the US. :)

  3. October 28, 2010 6:48 am

    Hi!

    I’m studying illustration, and at the moment looking at Indian culture, focusing on Indian food and ingredients. I just wanted to ask if I could use your recipes to illustrate from?

    Your recipes are obviously completely authentic and really tasty (being a keen cook, I will try them out), and this is important for me, to make my work more interesting an unusual due to the wide range of beautiful vegetables and vivid spices- they’re so much better to draw from too! I would be happy to share my outcomes with you!

    Thanks

  4. jasmine permalink
    July 1, 2011 3:04 am

    Hi, I love this gourd and will try yr recipe. It looks really yummy. In the photo, I can see small pieces like beans but I can’t find bean in ingredient. What are they? It’d be good to add beans.

    • July 6, 2011 11:14 am

      Hi Jasmine – The beans are yellow lentils. You can buy any variety of yellow lentils, cook them and then add to this curry. In the picture here, I have used ‘channa dal’ which looks a lot like split peas.

  5. Cindy permalink
    August 23, 2011 12:01 pm

    I found Bottle Gourd in a local produce market recently with this recipe (giving you credit of course) posted next to it so customers might know what to do with it. I’ve never eaten bottle gourd, to me gourds are something that were dried and used for decor or making crude utensils, not something to eat. I LOVED it and so did my 12 year old. Being new to any kind of Indian cooking, I did cut back probably a bit much on the cumin and corriander, I’ll add a little more next time, but I didn’t want to scare my daughter away from it by making it too spicy. Mine was mild but still very nice. Can’t wait to buy more and make it again! thanks!

  6. anu permalink
    November 10, 2011 9:44 pm

    awesome.this is first time I cooked lauki this way and my husband and I love it.It has the right amount of spice and looks very rich but in reality is very light and non fattening.Cooking it in the cooker was a great idea as it cooks the lauki really really well.Thanks for this great recipe!

    • November 11, 2011 11:59 am

      So happy you enjoyed the recipe, Anu! Glad your husband liked it too.

  7. noor permalink
    December 18, 2011 7:52 am

    i m pakistani, but like your recipies , and i try this really very delicious

  8. May 2, 2012 12:45 am

    Awesome curry.Everyone in my home loved it.

  9. July 29, 2012 10:09 am

    Made this once before making it again tonight. Love the name of your site ;)

    • August 27, 2012 8:05 pm

      Thanks so much for trying out my recipe, Naveena! Glad you liked it :)

  10. September 7, 2012 2:18 pm

    Hi, I love this gourd and will try yr recipe. It looks really yummy.

  11. November 16, 2012 7:39 pm

    a new restaurant just opened and i was studying the menu- “lauki” was on it so I quick looked it up….we have an Indian grocery nearby too, so maybe I will try this. I tend to try restaurant items and sometimes try to make them myself. Not sure how I ever lived without Indian food…so tasty.

  12. Deni permalink
    December 6, 2012 8:31 pm

    Your recipe looks good! I am planning to try chicken curry. Can I add lentils to chicken curry too?

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