Wadi wali Lauki/ Bottlegourd cooked with Sundried lentil cakes
Bottle gourd is highly appreciated vegetables in Indian cuisine though it is not very familiar to the western world (yet!) as an edible. It is rich in minerals and high in water therefore considered extremely light on the digestive system. Bottle gourd come in a variety of shapes and sizes. It can be consumed in a juice form or cooked as a veggie. Popularly known as doodhi or lauki in India, it goes by different names like cucuzza, calabash or, opo squash. In fact, every country and culture have a name for this delicately flavored, silky textured vegetable which tastes a lot like a zucchini.
There’s a lot one can do with this versatile vegetable. It is used in stir fries, curries, with lentils, in desserts, soups and a lot more. This is a super simple and homey dish, but the flavors are tremendous. We Punjabis particularly love to add wadis in it. Wadis, are sun dried lentil cakes that adds a lot of flavor and make the dish enjoyably spicy. These can be found in an Indian grocery store under the name ‘Punjabi wadi’. If you don’t find it, just skip it. This recipe of Lauki sabzi tastes awesome, especially when eaten with chapatis, raita and perhaps a daal or curry.
- Bottle gourds come in many shapes and sizes from long and snake like to spherical. I love the round one more.
- When you buy, try to choose small or medium sized ones which are tender with shiny green skin.
- If you push the skin using your nail, the nail should pierce the skin easily if it is tender and fresh. If you can’t press easily then it is surely over ripe and hard so avoid buying such type of bottle gourd.
- A tender lauki is easier to peel. When you use a potato peeler, it slides smoothly over the skin, peeling a thin uniform skin. The mature gourd would be harder and the peeler wouldn’t slide on it smoothly, resulting in broken peels.
- Lauki holds its shape very well in cooking rather than becoming mush like squash do.
- It has a lot of health benefits, so start including this vegetable into your diet.
Here’s a picture of Punjabi wadi that I got from India in December. I put them in the freezer for a year or as long as they last. I use only half a wadi at one time when cooking a dish for three people.
Simple, nutritious, homey and delicious dish that is extremely light on the digestive system.
- 1 1/2 kg fresh bottle gourd
- 1 red onion, (1/2 cup)sliced
- 1 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp ginger and garlic paste
- 1 large tomato, (1 cup)chopped
- 3/4 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp red chili powder
- Green chilli 2-3, thinly sliced
- 1/2 -3/4 of wadi
- Salt to taste
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- Slice off the top and bottom of the bottle gourd.
- Then peel or scrape the green skin.
- Wash and slit it half lengthwise. Further half each side and cut into bite size chunks. (if it has tough seeds remove it).
- Heat oil. Add wadi and fry till well browned on all sides, remove from oil and keep aside. Break it into 4-5 small pieces.
- Add cumin seeds to the hot oil. Once it starts spluttering, add sliced onion and fry until light brown.
- Add in ginger garlic paste. Fry briefly.
- Add in tomatoes, turmeric, red chili powder, salt and green chilies. Sauté till tomatoes get cooked
- Sprinkle a tbsp. of water to make tomatoes soft faster.
- Finally add diced lauki and wadi pieces.
- Stir well everything so the spices are evenly distributed. Cook it covered on low to medium heat until done. (You shouldn’t need to add water, as the squash will release a lot of moisture as it cooks.) Stir in between.
- If the squash seems too watery, cook without the lid to allow some moisture to evaporate.
- When it's done put chopped cilantro and serve hot with chapattis and raita.