Sunday, June 21, 2015

everyday subzi : bottle gourd stew in coconut milk | lauki coconut milk subzi | Lauki Olan

bottle gourd Olan

Bottle gourd is the best suited vegetable for summer season and I try to make the most of it. Even if you don't know how this vegetable helps in Indian summers you would realise once you eat it 3-4 times a week during hot summer months.

Lauki or bottle gourd is watery vegetables that fills up the plate, satiates hunger, hydrates the body and keeps the digestive system healthy. The only reason why many people avoid eating this humble vegetable is that they don't like the bland taste and mushy texture. But trust me you can make the most of it's mushy texture and bland taste, just flavour it the way you like the bottle gourd wont disappoint you.

bottle gourds

Try this Bengali style Lau shukto if you want to experiment. And this coconut milk lauki will be another in the same category.

This curry is inspired by the Pumpkin Olan I make. Not the authentic Kerala Olan but a tweaked version that I find very delicious. Adapting the Kerala Olan recipe again with lauki, it is made using the Ash gourd (Petha gourd) in Kerala but since we rarely find Ash gourds here it is better to use some lauki.

One can use up any mature lauki that was bought a week ago too for this recipe.

(2 large servings or 4 small servings)

Lauki (bottle gourd) peeled and cubed in bite sized chunks 600 gm
coconut milk 150-200 ml
ghee or coconut milk 1 tsp
pinch of hing (asafoetida)
mustard seeds 1/2 tsp
methi (fenugreek seeds) 10 grains or so
whole dry red chillies 2-3
curry patta 5-6 springs, leaflets separated
salt to taste

procedure ...

Cook the cubed lauki along with salt and 1 cup water till the pieces get soft. You may need very little water if the lauki is tender, this one was a week old lauki so I Used water to cook. This step can be done in pressure cooker to save time but take care not to cook the lauki to complete mush.

Add the coconut milk and simmer for a couple of minutes.

Prepare the tempering by heating the ghee or coconut oil, add the hing, methi, mustard seeds, chillies and curry patta in that order and let them get aromatic. Add all of this at once to the cooked curry and give it a good stir.

Kerala Olan

Serve as required. We like it with roti or some rice but I can eat these curries on their own so it becomes a one pot meal for me mostly.

Lauki Olan recipe

You may want to serve some beans or okra stir fry with this curry to round off an Indian meal along with rice and roti etc.

In Kerala this kind of Olan is a part of a huge meal spread called Sadya. Such light curries make sense when there are too many dishes on the table.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

turai keema recipe with coriander greens and coconut milk

Turai is the ridge gourd that is a summer squash in India. In southern India this gourd is available for a longer duration as there is lesser marked winter over there. Another common gourd in summers is the sponge gourd (nenua or chikni turai) that has a smooth skin and a little different flavour, another gourd that I found recently is called Ramturai which looks a bit stout and is heavier than these tow. We really have a great variety of gourds in India.

I prefer eating loads of gourds during summer as these watery vegetables are good for this season. The simpler way of cooking these gourds is along with sliced onions or radish slices or with some fried and crushed badiyan. These gourds are cooked with either chana daal or kala chana too and many people have written to me that these are their favourite summer subzis. I think kids don't care for such mushy curries but adults somehow start loving them. The body tells them what feels good and not just the palate.

I sometimes cook ridge gourds with mutton keema (minced mutton), we call it turai keema to have with chapati for our dinner. And I keep changing the turai keema recipe as per convenience, the vegetarian turai recipes are so diverse we love them as they are.

This summer I tried a turai keema with coriander paste and coconut milk added and loved it so much we had it twice last week. One reason is that we both have been traveling a lot and simpler home cooked meals feel comforting. I want to make them more and more simple for the sake of convenience, it works wonders if you know what you like in terms of flavours.

(3 large meal servings with chapatis and one side dish)

ridge gourds 400 gm
mutton keema 200 gm
coriander greens chopped 1 cup
garlic cloves 3
green chillies 2
ginger root grated 1 tsp
pepper corns 1/2 tsp
cumin seeds 1/2 tsp
coconut milk (cream) 100 ml
mustard oil 1 tsp
salt to taste


Make a green paste using coriander greens, ginger, garlic, green chillies, pepper corns and cumin seeds. Keep aside.

Peel the ridge gourds, wash and cube them in small pieces.

Heat the mustard oil in a pressure cooker pan and dump the keema in it. Scramble and fry for a couple of minutes to make the keema loose so it doesn't clump together in the curry. Add the green paste and stir fry for a minute.

Add salt and cubed ridge gourds. Mix well, add 2-3 tbsp water and cover the lid of the pressure cooker. Cook till the whistle blows. Let it cool and open the lid.

Pour the coconut milk, simmer for a few minutes to get required consistency. Serve hot with chapatis.

We had it with ragi roti and plain red chilly smoked baingan ka bharta.

The baingan ka bharta is just flame grilled round brinjals mashed along with chopped onions, chopped green chillies and salt. Served with a dash of raw mustard oil this bharta or chokha is a great vegetable dish that can replace a salad. To smoke it with red chilly I just brush one red chilly with mustard oil and burn the chilly over gas flame a little. Then insert the chilly into the mashed chokha and cover for a while. It gets nicely smoked with a chilly whiff.

This turai keema with coriander and coconut milk is very subtle sweetish aromatic dish that one can enjoy even in peak summer. I like it a bit thin but you can adjust consistency as per requirement or choice. You can add more coconut milk or cream and make it a bit rich but we liked it lighter and mellow without much chilly heat.

Let me know if you try this recipe. I might cook this with regular mutton on bone sometime at leisure. Mutton on bone needs longer cooking time and I cook it sparingly these days.