06 May, 2008

Simplicity at its Best: Sorekai Bolu Kodhel

Sorekai/Bottle Gourd Bolu Kodhel

We are back from short yet wonderful vacation from India and already missing home! Here I am in my office, feeling sleepy and jetlagged and terribly homesick. Each and every minute of those 18 days were filled with excitement and fun and our ears are still buzzing. It feels strange to be here away from all buzz and excitement. The two big family weddings in two weeks of our vacation kept us on our toes all the time. Mehendi, shopping, facials, flower decorations, shopping for gifts, last minute purchases, travelling, houseful of guests, shopping (did I say shopping again?!), phone calls to friends… It was complete madness and we enjoyed each and every moment of it. It won’t be exaggeration if I had to say that we hardly got time to think about coming back (Will write about it more in my later posts). Surprisingly even the flights were on time and everything went smoothly.

Can’t believe that we had been away for just few days and there is already change in weather. Thankfully the gloomy, cloudy weather is over and we were pleasantly welcomed by bright and sunny day. After 10+ hours of journey and forcefully eating the food served on flight all we craved for is some simple food, food which is also comforting. Ganji with Tender Mango Pickle and simple Bolu Kodhel is what comes to my mind whenever we fly back from India. Unlike other Coconut based Mangalorean Kodhels, this one uses very few ingredients sans much loved Coconut. Some things in life are better when they are simpler. How many times have we really tried to be simple but ended up complicating it more in that process? Keeping things simple is indeed complicated and it is very true when it comes to recipes. I am always impressed with the recipes which are traditional and handed down from one generation to the next. Most of them are uncomplicated, simple and yet the end result is always the winner. One such recipe which is handed down to me by my Amma, who in turn learnt it from her mom (my Ajji) is Bolu Kodhel. Bolu means plain and Kodehl means Curry from Mangalore. Bolu Kodhel is unfussy, comforting food for me that takes away all the ill-feelings after eating the food served on flights. Silky Bottle Gourd is cooked with spicy and aromatic Rasam/Sambar Powder and sweet Jaggery is the simplicity at its best. The simple tadka/tempering of Garlic and Hing gives it a touch of richness. Try it if you like simple food which tops the chart when it comes to taste and I can assure you that you won’t be disappointed with the end result. I am sending Sorekai/Bottle Gourd Bolu Kodhel to Laurie who is guest hosting WHB started by lovely Kalyn.

Bolu Kodhel (Plain Curry of Bottle Gourd from Mangalore with Rasam/Sambar Powder and Garlic Tadka)
Prep Time: 5-10 mins
Cooking Time: 20 mins
Serves: 4-5

5 cups Bottle Gourd, peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes)
1- 1½ tbsp Rasam/Sambar Powder (Adjust acc to taste)
½ - 1 tbsp Jaggery (Adjust acc to taste)
1 big marble sized Tamarind
1-2 Green Chillies, slit (Optional, adjust acc to taste)
1 tbsp Coriander Leaves, finely chopped
Salt to taste

For Tempering:
½ tbsp Ghee + 1 tsp Oil
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 Dry Red Chilli, broken
A big Pinch of Hing/Asafoetida
Few Curry Leaves
½ bulb of Garlic Cloves, peeled and sliced
Sorekai Bolu Kodhel

Cook bottle gourd cubes with jaggery, salt to taste and tamarind in a pan with enough water (approx 5-7 cups of water) for about 5-10 minutes till they are half cooked.
Mix in Rasam/Sambar powder and slit green chillies. Adjust the seasonings and water as per your taste and cook on a medium to low flame for another 10 minutes till the water is reduced to 2/3rd and flavours are blended well.
For tadka, heat ghee and oil in a pan and add sliced garlic. Sauté till garlic turns golden yellow and add mustard seeds, broken red chilli, curry leaves and hing.
When mustard starts to pop and splutter transfer the tempering into the Kodhel and mix well.
Mix in chopped coriander leaves. Cover and let it sit for another 5-10 minutes for all the flavours blend well. Serve hot with steamed Rice and Papad and enjoy.

Sorekai Bolu Kodhel

Slow cooking is the best method to make Bolu Kodhel.
Make sure that the water quantity is reduced to 2/3rd from original quantity. This way of cooking is known as ‘Battisuvudu’ in Kannada which is also used when making simple Rasams and Dals so that the flavours are blended well.
Other than Bottle Gourd, Okra is also cooked in a similar fashion with little bit of Toor Dal sans Garlic.


  1. hey sia,, ur back.. luks like u had great time there in ooru.. Hey i love this bolu kodlu..

  2. Hi Sups!! Welcome back to surprisingly sunny side of UK.
    Glad to hear that u had an amazing time.

  3. Am glad you had a great trip. :-) This seems very nice :-) I was thinking of making puli kodhel this morning and you post bolu kodhel :-)

  4. I love this new look, Sia....boy have I missed dropping by here......I am so glad you had a great time in India. Take care!


  5. Welcome back...Seems like you had a wonderful time in India.. i have a collection handed down the generations and they have all been winners....

  6. Hey, I like the new font. New look also? I think the header's different. We call this sorakaya pulusu in Telugu.

  7. This looks very comforting....i already have bottle gourd at home, will try it today itself for dinner.
    Simple and delicious food....always a winner! :)

  8. You are so right that sometimes the simple things really do taste the best! This dish is new to me, but sounds delicious. Out of curiosity, at what sorts of angles did you take those pics? Really awesome! :)

  9. Sia, welcome back sweetie...isn't the weather gorgeous now :-)

  10. Your thoughts are exactly like mine Sia. I didn't want to come back at all. Now I am feeling terrible and trying to get adjusted back :(. Koddel looks great. I agree with you on simple food too :).

  11. Hey girl!...welcome back...good to know you had a busy time!...:D...and a nice looking dish!...

    btw..drop in my place when you are relaxed..I have a roti mela going now..:))

  12. Glad to see you back, Sia! Missing your posts! Your description of the trip making me nostalgic too. You're back with another wonderful recipe. Love the bolu kodhel recipe. Beautiful picture as usual.

  13. looks soo comfortingggg sia

  14. you got me at mangalorean. it looks delicious. thanks for sharing.

  15. Hi Sia...
    Nice to hear that u had great time in India..... Ur Bolu Kodhel looks YUM!.... really wanted to try this out... amazing pics... nice simple food recipe...... Come out of home sickness fast girl(I know its hard)

  16. Sia, Welcome Back! Bolu Kodhel looks tasty for sure. Few ingredients but the final result does look grand. By the way I made Kokkum Rasam and it was fantastic. Thanks and Hugs.

  17. hey, did u shop for ur blog as well, any new dishes etc ;) wow! weddings r so much fun, get to meet everyone!
    bolu kodhel looks yum, simple & nice!

  18. Welcome back Sups! You had a nice time back home, huh? See you around!

  19. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  20. Hello hello! You are back already! Time files.I just blogging last week too. 2 weddings, I can imagine all the excitement!!
    Good to see you back, I know it's hard now for you both but got to get used to the normal life!:)
    Bolu Kodhel looks yum. I made your Sajjige rotti, linked at FH!:)

  21. Nice new look, Sia.
    I see that you had a good time in India.:)

  22. hey sia.... am a regular visitor of ur page... u have visited my page quite a few times if u remember.... its so good to see you back... its so true that simple food at times is a bliss...

  23. i have a small gift waiting for you in my blog... please visit....

  24. Sia, this recipe really is very simple and the tamarind and jaggery must lend a lovely sweet and sour taste .

  25. You make me envious Sia. Its been more than 2 years I have been home :(

  26. Welcome Back Sia!


    Forget about the recipes; I want to see pictures of the weddings and the mehndi and hear all the gossip!

    Good to have you back and glad you had a fabulous time!

    Hope you ate mangoes! :-))

  27. Welcome back sia, this diah looks great, thanxxx for sharing!!!

  28. Hi! Gonna make this today!
    Hope u lived off mangoes when at home! I miss those SO much!! :((

  29. Great recipe with a wonderful combination of spices. It looks yummy. Thank you for entering it in Weekend Herb Blogging!

  30. Sounds interesting and very delicious!


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