Lauki was one of the most loathed veggie during pre-marriage days. The very moment my mom stopped at a vendor to buy the veggie, I used to be making all sorts of weired faces to give her the indication "please mom, dont buy this, .....yuck" n when she did not give into my tantrums, it used to further put me, "you do whatever you want, but you just cant make me eat that stuff". The only form I would let this subzi pass my throat without any forcing from my mom was, disguised as a "kofta". The other forms would have had to inevitably be gulped down with a glass of water, (of course escaping my mom's eagle eyes) coz she wouldnt let me budge without finishing the food on my plate.
Reading the above it would be difficult to imagine that me, Shella, is posting a recipe on this veggie. If my mom ever reads this, she will probably fall out of her chair, coz she still doesnt know that I am not averse towards this subzi anymore, let alone taking a liking to it.
Now you might wonder how all this happened. All credit goes to my MIL. My MIL has a knack of making the most dreaded subzis into delicious dishes in the most simplest of ways. I have picked up this amazingly simple recipe from her, and it really is one of my all time favorite. Beleive me or not, I buy a minimum of 1 kg of lauki every week!!!! And this one dish, is presented before my husband on a weekly basis.
I will not delay in any more talking, but give you the privilege of going thru the secret.
1 - big lauki / ghiya / bottlegourd, scraped and diced into chunks
1 - aloo, scraped and diced into smaller chunks
1 - big onion, chopped.
1 tsp - kadugu / mustard seeds
1/2 tsp - haldi
1/2 tsp - garam masala
1/2 tsp - amchur
green chillies as per choice or use red chillies
In a pressure cooker, add oil a little less than you actually need, and over this add a tsp of ghee (you can totally omit the ghee, but this is one of the secret ingredients of the recipe). I have made this alteration of adding just a spoonful of ghee over a period of time. Not adding it makes a world of difference in the flavor.
When it is hot, add the mustard seeds (the second secret ingredient, try adding jeera instead of this, and you'll see the difference yourself). Let them sputter.
Add the chopped onions
Now immediately add the lauki and aloo together. Laukis releases a lot of water while being cooked, therefore, if you are washing it immediately before putting into the cooker, there's no need to add water, but if it is pre-washed and quite dry at the time of putting in cooker, just add about 1/4 cup of water.
Add the turmeric, salt and the chillies.
Mix all this with the spatula ensuring that the subzi is coated with the turmeric. It should be a nice yellow colour.
Close the lid and wait for one whistle. Lower the flame and let cook for about 5-10 mins.
Wait for steam to pass and open the lid.
Now light the gas again and put the cooker on the flame.
Add the garam masala and the amchur.
Using the back of a ladle mash the veggies coarsely, dont make a paste out of it, just beat them up to blend with the masala.
Let any watery gravy evaporate.
Garnish with corriander leaves
Serve hot with chappatis, parathas or chawal.
The trick lies in getting the colour, which comes with experience.
I hope all of you try this dish once and you will surely add it to your staple recipes. It is that good.
I will post a picture when I make the dish next.
Dtd - 10/09/07 - As per my promise I had made lauki today for our tiffins. Am posting a photo right from our lunch dubbas. The big one's hubby dears & the small one's mine.