Bottle Gourd/Lauki Kofta Curry
I’ve been having a major writer’s block over the past couple of weeks. After being away from blogging for a bit, I guess my mind is crawling at a snail’s pace at-least on the linguistic side of it. I know what I want to write, but putting it into words is where I get stuck. This post has been waiting for a while now.
‘Bottle Gourd’ is one of the vegetables we cook at home quite often. For those unfamiliar, this veggie is pale green on the outside and whitish/cream-ish on the inside with the core consisting of soft white seeds. It naturally doesn’t have much taste but when cooked has a hint of sweetness. It’s texture is similar to that of zucchini in my opinion. They also have quite a bit of water content. There are quite a number of dishes I prepare with this versatile veggie – curry, chutney, rasam/stew, kheer to name a few.
It has been a while since I made koftas, so instead of the repertoire dishes I took some time out to make these super flavorful koftas. For the koftas, I peeled and grated bottle gourd in a combo of fine and coarse. I grated as much I could and then discarded some of the tender core with the seeds. I squeezed all the water from the grated mixture and then added the flour and spices. The spices make koftas flavorful while the gram flour and all-purpose flour help in soaking up any additional moisture. Rolling the koftas in bread crumbs gives a nice crispy texture after they are deep-fried. Always fry these under low
heat, so that they cook from within.
The gravy for this delcious curry is a smooth blend of tomatoes and cashews. The cashew paste is what gives the gravy a beautiful creamy texture and also make this dish quite rich. The tomatoes adds a nice balance of taste and it’s radiant color. Once the gravy is ready, add the koftas to the gravy and simmer for a bit so that the koftas nicely soak up the gravy and taste even better. Garnish with coriander leaves, drizzle with some heavy cream if you like and serve immediately as a part of your meal. This dish can definitely be included in your next dinner party menu!
Prep time: 25 mins
Cook time: 40 mins
Yields: around 12 to 14 koftas
– Bottle Gourd/Sorakaya/Lauki – 1 long or 2 medium sized
– Green Chillies – 5 – finely chopped
– Red Onions – 1/4th cup – finely chopped
– Gram Flour/Chickpea Flour/Besan – 1/2 cup
– All Pupose flour/Maida – 1/2 cup
– Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
– Red Chilli powder – 1 tsp
– Ginger-Garlic paste – 3/4th tsp
– Salt – 1 tsp or to taste
– Cashews – a fistful – soaked in water for atleast 30 mins – roughly chopped
– Bread crumbs – 1/4th cup
– Oil – for frying
– Red Onions – 1 large
– Tomato – 1 medium
– Cashew paste – 1/4th cup
– Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
– Red Chilli powder – 1n1/2 tsp
– Coriander powder – 1/2 tsp
– Garam masala – 1/2 tsp
– Ginger-Garlic paste – 1/2 tsp
– Coriander/Cilantro – for garnish
To make the koftas,
1. Peel bottle-gourd, rinse it well under running water and grate it. Discard the center of the bottle gourd if it has large seeds or difficult to grate.
2. Squeeze out all the water and set aside in a mixing bowl. To this, add finely chopped green chillies, onions, turmeric, red chilli powder, ginger-garlic paste, salt and roughly chopped cashews.
3. Mix well. Now, add gram flour and all-purpose flour. Combine everything well. Add more flour if the batter seems watery.
4. Heat oil in a kadai or wok. Take 1/2 of the bread crumbs in a small flat bowl. make small lime-sized balls of the batter, roll them in the bread crumbs and put them in the oil and deep fry until they are golden-brown. Fry them with the oil on medium-low. Let them cook slowly as we want the inside to cook a little.
5. Remove the koftas onto a plate or bowl lined with tissue paper to soak any excess oil.
To make the gravy,
1. In a pan or skillet, heat about 3 tsps of oil. Add cumin seeds, cinnamon stick and cloves. When they start to dance around, add finely chopped onions and saute until the onions are translucent/lighly brown. Add the spices – turmeric, red chilli powder, coriander powder, garam masala and ginger-garlic paste and further saute for a couple of mins.
2. Now, add diced tomatoes and saute until the tomatoes are nice and tender. Turn off the stove and set this mixture until it cools down a bit.
3. In a blender, take the soaked cashews with some water and blend into a smooth paste and set aside. Now, take the onion-tomato mixture in the blender, add 1/2 cup of water and blend into a paste. Slowly add the cashew paste and blend to combine everything together.
4. Remove this gravy into the pan. Turn on the heat and simmer for a couple of minutes.
Add the koftas to the gravy. Let them simmer for a few minutes (5 to 8 mins) so that they breathe in the flavors from the gravy. Remove into a serving dish and garnish with coriander. If you want to make it richer, drizzle some heavy cream before serving. Serve this deliciously flavorful curry with rice, pulav, naan or roti.