Saturday, May 14, 2011

Bottle Gourd Yakhni

This is a Kashmiri no fuss preparation that is absolutely creamy and yummy to taste. Of course, yours truly did what she always does, and modified the recipe a bit to suit the Maharashtrian-Goan palate a little better, but I don't suppose that the changes were really monumental. Just itsy-bitsy alterations.

The first change that I did was that instead of deep frying the bottle gourd roundels, I roasted them with a little spray of oil. Yours truly is watching her weight, and believe me, there is a lot to watch! Not to mention, the mere presence of a little extra oil is sure to send both the eyebrows and the cholesterol of my ma-in-law (and my BMI) to shoot up.

I don't think that it made much of a difference  to the taste. The bottle gourd still tasted yummy, which is to say a lot about the bottle gourd. The humble gourd might be an epitome of goodness in the vegetable world, but honestly speaking, there is no taste inherent to the gourd itself. Yet, somehow, in this preparation, it actually tastes quite nice.

Other than that, there was a little dry ginger powder to be added to the recipe, which I didn't have. Ergo, I didn't add. Ergo, it made some difference which I couldn't tell.

Ergo... Oops, I mean Here You Go.


    * 1 small bottle gourd
    * 2 tsp oil
    * 3-4 cloves
    * 1 tsp cumin seeds
    * 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
    * 1 tsp red chilli powder
    * 1 tsp fennel powder
    * 1/2 tsp coriander powder
    * 1/2 tsp garam masala
    * 1 cup yoghurt, beaten
    * 2 tbsp gram flour
    * a pinch of asafoetida
    * salt to taste

Peel the skins of the bottle gourd and cut it into roundels. You can then core each roundel to get something like a bottle gourd doughnut. Save the cored pieces. (There is no reason to discard them.)

Now heat a griddle and spray a little cooking oil on its surface. Place the roundels on the griddle and cook well till they are evenly browned on both sides. Brown the cored pieces as well. Set aside to cool. (Those who are XX calorie conscious may even drain the already-too-little-oil-containing gourd pieces on kitchen towels. I skipped the bit... very very conveniently indeed!)

In a wok, heat 2 tsp of oil and toss in the cumin seeds and cloves. Now add the roasted roundels, the dry spices except for the garam masala, salt and half a cup of water. Bring it to a boil and then cover and simmer till the roundels go completely tender. This may take a while.

During  that time, add the gram flour and the pinch of asafoetida to the whipped yoghurt and mix it well so that no lumps remain. Once the gourd pieces have become tender, pour in the yoghurt mixture and give the whole darn thing a good little stir. Bring it to a boil again and last, but in no way the least, add the garam masala. Mix it all up and serve hot with rotis or chapatis.

Happy Cooking!

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