Lauki Kofta Curry / Bottle Gourd Dumplings In Indian Gravy

LAUKI/ BOTTLE GOURD KOFTA CURRY ~ Dumplings made of shredded bottle gourd, in a spiced Indian curry

My husband and I have been on the path to adopting the healthy way to eat our meals, without having to give up on the yummy Indian curries and dishes. This is what we’d ideally like on our plate for every meal: 50% veggie; 25% protien; 25% carb (grain, dairy, etc)

This has been quite a struggle especially since most Indian dishes are accompanied by a rather large serving of either rice or some Indian bread (roti/chappati/naan/etc), both of which come under the grain and thereby carb category. In an attempt to broaden the choice of vegetables that we use in our meals and introduce more variety, I decided to give the good-old-lauki a spin! Well, this poor veggie gets completely ignored by the hubby when grocery shopping, as the only way of cooking it we’d known so far was either dump it in the regular south-Indian Sambar or make kootu (again South Indian) – now, not only are these both tough to incorporate in the 50-25-25 meal scheme (kottu can actually fit in if you wanted), my hubby is hardly a sambar/kootu/anything very south Indian or can-eat-only-with-rice person. What next – what do North Indians make with lauki?? After some scouting, I came across multiple recipies of kofta curry with lauki in it and they all seemed quite appealing. I decided to try the version that did not involve any deep-frying of the vegetable dumplings which is quite different from the way koftas are usually made which makes them not-your-regular-dinner choice with all the “complications” & multiple “cooking stages” – also, what other choice did I have when it was 8:30 pm!

So here’s how I made lauki koftas, which you can fill up on your plate for your daily dose of vegetables and also savor the awesomeness of Indian curries all you want!

PS: Hubby can’t wait to buy bottle gourd at the grocers every time he has to go veggie shopping now! 🙂

Original version: ShowMeThecurry’s Lauki (BottleGourd) Koftas

Cooking Time: 20 mins prep + 25 minutes cooking

Serves: 4 (about 8 – 10 koftas)

Ingredients:

For the curry:

  1. Onion – 2 large, made into a puree or shredded fine
  2. Tomatoes – 2 or 3 large , made into a puree
  3. Ginger Garlic paste – 1tbsp
  4. Red chilli powder – 1 tbsp
  5. Coriander powder – 2 tbsp
  6. Cumin powder – 1/4 tbsp
  7. Garam masala – 1/2 tbsp
  8. Plain yogurt – 1/4 cup
  9. Salt to taste
  10. Cumin seeds (jeera)  – 1 tbsp
  11. Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  12. Cooking oil of your choice
  13. Coriander leaves – about 10 stems – chopped fine

For the koftas:

  1. Bottle Gourd (lauki) – 1 regular sized, peeled & shredded
  2. Gram flour (besan) – 1/2 to 3/4 cup
  3. Coriander powder – 1/2 tbsp
  4. Cumin powder – 1/4 tbsp
  5. Garam masala – 1/2 tbsp
  6. Salt to taste

Method:

Preparing the base curry:

  1. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed cooking pan.
  2. Add some mustard and jeera and wait for mustard to crackle.
  3. Add the onions and some salt and let it cook until browning begins.
  4. Add ginger-garlic paste and turmeric and cook until oil starts oozing from the mixture.
  5. Add the tomatoes and the dry spices – chilli, coriander, cumin, garam masala and more salt if needed.
  6. Add the yogurt (beaten well) and cook until the masalas are well done and you start seeing oil at the edges of the mixture.
  7. Add about 2 cups of water and allow to come to a boil and simmer on medium for a few minutes (remember to use the water that was squeezed out from the lauki while preparing the koftas)..

Preparing the koftas (dumplings):

Prepare the dumplings while the curry is underway, so they do not have to sit out for very long, as otherwise it tends to get more wet and loose with the vegetable sweating water over time.

  1. Peel & shred the lauki. You can use a shredder with a large eye to give you linguini like thickness.
  2. Very important step: place handfuls of the shredded lauki between your palms and squeeze out the water with all your might! This is really important so as to try and get as much moisture out of the vegetable as possible before you make the dumplings so they will hold up together when done. Note: you can use tihs water while making the gravy.
  3. Add chilli powder,  cumin powder, garam masala, coriander powder to the shredded bottle gourd.
  4. Add the gram flour (besan) a little at a time, while trying to mix all this together. You might not use up all the flour, but need enough to be able to provide binding to make balls out of the mixture. Add salt at the very end as that will cause the vegetable to ooze water.
  5. Make lemon sized firm balls from the mixture and keep it ready to drop into the simmering curry.

Bringing it together:

  1. Drop the koftas as you make them one by one, gently, into the boiling curry.
  2. Slowly adjust the dumplings in the gravy so that they are mostly submerged in the spicy goodness.
  3. Cook with lid on for about 10 – 12 minutes until the koftas are cooked.
  4. Garnish with coriander leaves and turn off the heat.

Notes:

It seems like no matter how hard you try, squeezing out the water from the shredded veggie from between your palms does not suffice. But do not skip that step – it helps get most of the water out. Once you’re done doing that, try placing the vegetable on a clean kitchen towel and roll it up and wring hard as you’d do to dry a piece of wet cloth. This does a pretty good job of getting whatever water is left and give you a dry bunch of shredded bottle gourd.

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