Monday, April 7, 2014

Bharwan Lauki or Stuffed Bottle Gourd

"Bharwan Lauki"
Bharwan Lauki or Stuffed Bottle Gourd is one of my mom's favourite recipe. Lauki or Bottle Gourd is a very humble vegetable and usually not relished much because of its bland taste. As a kid we never used to like it, but my mom who is an amazing cook would always find some innovative ways of cooking and surprise us with her yummy food. Bharwan Lauki is one of those recipes.
Lauki stuffed with spicy paneer filling, cooked in a tomato based rich and nutty gravy.

Ingredients

Lauki / bottle gourd / ghiya - 500 grams.

For the filling

Paneer, crumbled - 1/2 th cup
Potato, boiled - 1 medium
Unsweetened Milk powder - 2 tablespoon
Green coriander, chopped -3 tablespoon
Green chilli, chopped - 1 teaspoon
Grated ginger - 1 1/2  teaspoon
Cashew,  chopped - 2 tablespoon
Raisins, chopped - 1 tablespoon
Sugar -1/2 teaspoon
Salt - 1/2 teaspoon
Garam Masala powder  - 1/2 teaspoon
Cumin seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Corn flour - 1 tablespoon
Oil - 1 teaspoon

Oil for shallow frying

For the Gravy

Clove - 4

Cardamom - 2 
Kashmiri Red chilli powder - 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder - 1/2teaspoon
Coriander powder - 1 tablespoon
Tomato - 2 medium
Ginger - 1 1/2inch piece
Cashew, soaked in water - 15 pcs

Sesame seeds - 1 tablespoon
Green chilli - 1or 2
Desiccated coconut - 2 tablespoon
Garam Masala powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Fresh green coriander - 3 tablespoon
Oil - 3 tablespoon
Salt to taste


Method

Preparing the Lauki

Peal and cut the lauki into 7 cm thick horizontal pieces.




Place the lauki in a pot add 1/2teaspoon of oil and approximately 2 cups of water, and boil. until the lauki is tender. (Alternatively you could boil the lauki in a pressure cooker, pressure cook for 1 whistle) If using pressure cooker allow all the steam to escape before opening the pressure cooker.



Let the lauki cook for some time, scoopout the inside pulp and keep aside. as we want to add the pulp of the lauki in the filling just check for any hard seeds and discard them , and finely chop the remaining pulp.





For the filling

Heat 1 tsp oil in a kadhai, add the cumin seeds, once they start to release the aroma add the chopped pulp of the lauki. Fry for 2-3 minutes u until excess water is dried up.





Place all ingredients of the filling in a plate and add the fried lauki pulp. Mix well.




Stuff the scooped out lauki with the prepared filling. Ensure that it is not stuffed up to the edge.



Heat oil in a kadhai or pan and shallow fry the stuffed lauki one at a  time till brown spots start appearing. Drain and keep aside on absorbent paper.






For the gravy

Grind the tomato and ginger to make a paste and keep aside for later use.



Grind the soaked cashew and coconut into a fine paste for later use.




Heat 3 tablespoon of oil in a kadhai.Temper with clove and cardamoms,once they start popping add the ginger and tomato paste and fry for 2-3 minutes.Add the Kashmiri red chilli powder, turmeric powder and coriander powder and fry until oil starts leaving the sides







Add the cashew coconut paste , salt and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Add 1 cup of water and let it come to a boil, add chopped coriander add garam masala powder and mix well cook for another 2 minutes and turn off the heat.







To serve, slice the stuffed lauki into 2  or 3 pieces (approximately 2 cm thick). place on a serving dish, pour the hot gravy over the stuffed lauki and garnish with chopped coriander.





Serve hot and enjoy.

Note:

Do not over boil the lauki as we need it to be firm enough to be filled.
I have used milk powder in the filling but you could substitute it with mawa.
In case you don't have unsweetened milk powder then eliminate the sugar from the filling or else it will become very sweet.
While filling the lauki keep half centimeter gap between the filling and the rim of the lauki, as when we fry the lauki it will release water and will force the stuffing to come out. If we leave space between the rim and stuffing then even after frying the stuffing will not come out.
I would suggest that you assemble the lauki and gravy at least 10 minutes before serving so that  the lauki and stuffing can absorb some of the gravy.

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