Lauki… Bottle Guard in dinner ? noooooo, this is the most expected reaction of family members in most of Indian household, inspite of the knowing that this vegetable has multiple health benefits. Actually Bottle guard as a vegetable does not have any unique flavor of taste, may be because of the high water content in it. So it becomes essential to add spices to make it tasty. In most parts of India, cumin, coriander, ginger, garam masala and onion and tomato are the common spices which are used to cook this vegetable in the form of curry, dry or in Kofta. In Eastern sector, this tasteless vegetable turns into an exotic delicacy by additing, prawn, fish brain, mustard and poppy seed paste …… Reserve the peel, even that can be cooked separately which I will share in my next post. During summer when you want something light on stomach, this dish will come as a saviour. It is basically no spice, minimum oil preparation. Key spice is Nigela (kalonji), ginger and coriander leaves as flavouring agent. Best part is, it can be eaten cold, a bowlful of this dish along with some green salad and juice is enough for a meal specially during lunch. However, in Bengali household it is liked to be taken with steamed rice as first course.
- Finely chopped Lauki/Bottle Guard 500 gm
- Nigella/Kalonji ½ tspn
- Salt 1 tspn
- Sugar 1/4th tspn
- White oil 1 tblspn/1tspn personal choice
- Chopped Coriander 1 tblspn
- Green chili 3
- Ginger paste(forgot to add in picture)
In a pan add oil. Heat it, put kalonji, when crackled put slitted green chili, stir for a second then add lauki.
Stir for 2 mins then add ginger, salt and sugar. Give a nice stir. Lauki will wilt gradually and shall release moisture. At this point cover it.
Cook it for 10 mins. In sim flame. Check in between that the moisture should not dry. It is best if cooked in its own juice. However, sometimes the moisture dries up fast, it depends on its freshness and quality. So in such cases its advised to add water to cook and soften the veggie.
Check the seasoning, add salt and sugar accordingly. Switch off the stove when cooked. Wait till it cools. Then add chopped coriander so that it retains its bright green colour.
Garnish with green chili and serve.
Tips: Coriander is the key flavouring agent and garnishing in this dish. If it is added when the dish is very hot, it will get discoloured.
Note: For quick cooking, it can be pressure cook also with 2/3 whistles. Open lid when cool, dry the extra moisture. All other method remains same.