• Payal Maharaj

Mum's Favorite Bottle Gourd Curry

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As a kid, I had not been the biggest fan of curries of the squash family or the gourd family. Something about the mushy texture threw me off. Unfortunately for 12-year-old me, these vegetables were readily available in Fiji so I had to eat them quite often. However, I would like to think that my palate has matured since I was a child and I enjoy such curries now especially my Mum's Special Pumpkin Curry. Today's recipe is for bottle gourd curry or as we call it, lauki curry. This happens to be one of my mum's favorite curries. It is lightly spiced with a slight squash taste and full of healthy goodness. After doing some light research online, I found out that bottle gourd has a high fiber content. So it is tasty and healthy! Bonus points!

Bottle gourd for those that a unfamiliar is typically a cylindrical looking vegetable that is light-green colored. We typically make a curry out of it but there are other dishes you can make with it as well. You can buy bottle gourd at your local Indian or Asian store typically. At least that is where we get it from. Or sometimes we get it from my Nani's (maternal grandmother) house like we did this weekend. To prepare this, you have to slice the gourd into smaller slices and remove the skin. The seeds can be kept as they are typically soft and can be cooked and eaten. Then the slices can be diced further. Wash and then drain. Then onions, garlic, ginger, spices have to be briefly cooked in oil before adding the lauki and salt.

Let lauki cook and release juices. Once liquid has cooked off, turn heat to low and let lauki cook and brown a bit. Lauki curry is done when the pieces are fully cooked and almost mushy but still holding their shape.

Enjoy with freshly made flatbreads or with rice&dhal. It also makes a great veggie side dish to meat and seafood dishes. Let me know what you think in the comments section below!


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RECIPE: Serves 4 Prep time 30 minutes (includes time to prep bottle gourd) Cook time 30 minutes Ingredients: 2 bottle gourds sliced and diced 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1/4 tsp mustard seeds 1/4 tsp cumin seeds Handful of curry leaves (optional) 2 Thai chilies (optional) 1/2 cup diced onions 1 tbsp crushed garlic 1 tbsp crushed ginger 1/4 tsp turmeric 1/2 tsp garam masala Salt to taste Handful of chopped cilantro Method:

  1. Slice the bottle gourds. Remove skin and dice. Wash and drain.

  2. On medium heat, add mustard and cumin seeds. As they sizzle, add onions, ginger, garlic, chilis and curry leaves. Cook until aromatic. About 1-2 minutes. Add turmeric and garam masala. Cook for 1-2 minutes.

  3. Add diced bottle gourd. Stir. Add salt. Stir.

  4. Cook until released liquids start to cook off.

  5. Turn heat to low and cook until lauki is thoroughly cooked and starts to brown slightly.

  6. Turn off heat. Enjoy hot with some fresh rotis or with some rice&dhal!

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