Here is another recipe from Anisha Kaul.
I had to do some legwork to make this one.
A bottle gourd is also known a calabash. It was quite a hunt to find one (or a reasonable facsimile thereof). I discovered a local Indian market; the lady there did not know the term “bottle gourd,” but she did have something that looked like the one pictured here, which she called an “Indian squash,” so I decided to try it.
I also picked up packages of cumin and mustard seeds, since they are normally found already-ground at American markets, as well as Indian chilis, lime and mango pickles, and meat marsala spices, which one of her other recipes on my to-do list calls for.
This recipe is not firey-hot–it’s more of a slow burn and will make your scalp sweat.
- 1 table spoon small yellow Mustard seeds (Aka Sarson in Hindi).
- 1/2 table spoon Cumin seeds (Aka Zeera in Hindi).
- 8 Black Pepper corns (Aka Kali Mirch in Hindi).
- 9 cloves Garlic (Aka Lesun in Hindi).
- 2 medium Green chillies (Aka Hari mirch in Hindi).
- 1 tablespoon Coriander powder (Aka Dhania in Hindi).
- 1/4 tea spoon Turmeric powder (Aka Haldi in Hindi).
- 1/2 table spoon Salt.
- 1 medium Onion.
- 1 Bottle Gourd of length 25cm, and width 18cm.
- 3 tablespoons Oil for frying.
Mustard seeds, cumin seeds, black peppercorns, garlic cloves, and green chillies need to be ground together to form a fine paste. Ready-made powders/pastes won’t do. Freshly ground pastes have different tastes.
Bottle gourd and onion need to be chopped finely in tiny pieces.
Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a non-stick bowl, put in the spice paste and fry till it gets light brown.
Add onions and salt, and fry till Onions get golden brown.
Add bottle gourd and fry til it gets tender (you should be actually able to break a piece with the slight press of the spatula).
Add water such that the bottle gourd gets covered till top. Let it boil on the simmer gas till the curry thickens. Taste the curry, and check for the consistency.
Serve hot with boiled rice.
Prep time is about 20 minutes, primarily because it takes a while to chop up that gourd thingee. Cooking time is about half an hour over a medium heat.
I chopped the garlic and chilis. Next time, I shall mince them.
I diced the bottle gourd to 1/4 to 1/2 inch bits; that seemed to work quite nicely. That was easy part. The hard part of dicing them was getting the little black dots painted in . . . .
I have nothing “non-stick” in my kitchen. I used a cast iron skillet that belonged to my mother. Well-seasoned cast iron is as non-stick as can be, and you don’t have to worry about scratching the surface.
We had enough to serve four, but I think my bottle gourd was on the large size, though it was typical of the ones at the store.
Just to clear up any misconceptions–and an email led me to think I might not have been clear–in my culinary world, “make your scalp sweat” is a compliment. Spicy is good. Bland is bad.
We ate this dish quite happily two days in a row.