I have always hated bottle gourd or lauki as it is known, since childhood. I remember how my mother used to try and coax me into eating the vegetable, everytime trying unsuccessfully to explain me its various health benefits. This continued well into my 20s – well, my mother had obviously given up the efforts long ago.
Cut to my mid 20s and for some reason which even I do not understand, I started being okay with all the vegetables that I had hated as a kid – parval, galka, turiya and our very own lauki. My efforts of searching some interesting recipes which can be made with this nutritious vegetable – brought me to a couple of dishes.
One of them is an interesting cutlet which I like to prepare often – with lauki and potato – will post that recipe some time soon (I have got really bad pics of that dish). The other one is what you are about to read below – the kashmiri al yakhni – a really simple and delicious vegetable preparation in a yogurt based gravy.
Yakhni in Kashmir is a yogurt based gravy and ‘Al’ translated to bottle gourd – put together and you have bottle gourd cooked in a yogurt gravy. Not everyone would like this but I loved the dish – it was as if the lauki became a different vegetable – it blended in so well with the curd and the fennel powder used in this recipe. You should definitely prepare this once and then decide for yourself.
- 1 fresh bottle gourd
- 2 tspn fennel seeds powder
- 1 Tbspn all purpose flour
- 1 cup fresh curd
- 1 onion chopped finely
- Ghee for frying bottle gourd
- 1 tspn Mustard seeds
- 1 tspn dry ginger powder
- 1 tspn cumin seeds powder (dhana jeera)
- 1 tspn coriander powder
- 1/4 cup chopped coriander leaves
- 2 tspn oil
- Salt to taste
- Wash the bottle gourd thoroughly and cut it into thin slices
- Heat the ghee in a pan and fry the bottle gourd pieces. Take them out on a clean paper towel so the ghee separates.
- Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. Allow them to splutter.
- Once the mustard seeds splutter, add the chopped onions and salt and saute them for a while till they change colour.
- On the side, whisk the curd and all purpose flour together in a bowl and keep it aside.
- Once the onions are done, add the curd mixture to the them and mix properly.
- Now add the fennel powder, dry ginger powder, coriander powder and cumin seeds powder and mix thoroughly
- Once the gravy is ready, add the bottle gourd pieces and mix them well so all the pieces are coated well with the gravy. Check for salt once.
- Garnish with the chopped coriander leaves - This is completely optional.
The recipe has been adapted from various online sources. I do not know anything about Kashmiri cuisine neither can I verify if this is how the authentic Al yakhni is prepared or not – but I like it this way – so I decided to share it with you guys 🙂
Do let me know in the comments what do you think about this recipe? And who are you going to make it for? 😀