I recently purchased a small bottle gourd, and having never experienced bottle gourd before I searched for ideas on how to prepare it. Lauki Kofta (bottle gourd dumplings) seemed to be one of the more popular ways it is used, so after looking over several recipes I set out on my own. This post should not be mistaken for an accurate representation of an authentic dish. It is merely a haphazard account of someone with not much of a clue (me) throwing together ingredients which said person (I) thought might work as a palatable meal.
After peeling the gourd and splitting it in half it was evident the seeds were rather mature so I decided to remove them.
After shredding what remained of the bottle gourd it didn’t look like there was much left to work with. There were a few ivy gourds (tindli) left in the refrigerator, and I figured a gourd is a gourd is a gourd so I grated them too.
There are some gaps in my pictorial documentation because I was vacillating whether this event would be worthy of a blog post or not.
I salted the shredded gourds, and after they had released their moisture for a spell I squeezed much of the liquid out of them, saving it to use later in the gravy. Then I added finely chopped whole green cayenne peppers, red chili powder (deggi mirch), coriander powder, green mango powder (amchur) and chickpea flour (besan).
Normally these dumplings would be rolled into balls and deep fried, but I prefer using an ebelskiver pan with much less oil to get a similar, more healthy result. Despite squeezing the moisture out of the gourds and adding more and more chickpea flour the mixture seemed more like a batter than a dough so I spooned the mixture into the oiled depressions of the ebelskiver pan.
The gravy preparation began with mustard seeds crackling in a pan with hot mustard oil to which was added cumin seeds, curry leaves and asafetida, quickly followed by the addition of a blended paste of onion, garlic, ginger, curry leaves, tomatoes and green chilis. Garam masala, kosher salt and red chili powder were also added. After several minutes of cooking nonfat Greek yogurt was stirred in.
To thicken the gravy I added a paste of puréed previously soaked cashew nuts. To adjust for the sourness of the yogurt I added some jaggery.
The dumplings which had been cooked in the ebelskiver pan were then added into the gravy and were left to simmer until it was time to plate the meal. I had intended to add turmeric, which would have changed the blah tan/pink color to a golden yellow, but it slipped my 64.75 year old memory.
We thoroughly enjoyed this meal which included rice, mango pickle, sweet mango chutney and spinach paratha.