18 May, 2017

Lauki Aloo Matar Curry Recipe | Simple and Easy Vegan Bottle Gourd Curry Recipes

Learn how to make Lauki Aloo Matar Curry ~ A simple and easy bottle gourd curry with potato and peas cooked in a sweet and tangy tomato gravy

Vegetables, some you love and some you hate. And then there are few which don’t fall under either category and precariously balance in between depending on how it is cooked. Lauki or sorekayi or dudhi or bottle gourd was one such vegetable in my list. Did you notice I spoke about it in past tense? It is because I was not either fond of it or disliked it enough to put firmly under just one category. So, like many other vegetables while growing up bottle gourd and I shared love-hate relationship.


Ingredients for Lauki Aloo Matar Curry

My mother being a terrific cook, all the dishes she made using this unassuming gourd was an instant hit on our dinner table. She knew the ways to trick the fussiest picky eater to go for second helping with her amazing cooking skills. Apart from making her signature boLu kodhel and bottle gourd peel chutney, she also makes fantastic melt-in-mouth sweet halwa and delicious lauki ke kofte which I remember was one of the popular dishes she cooked for special occasions. The bland, pale and unattractive vegetable would get a massive makeover in her hands, making it one of the most desirable things to eat. That’s the power of mother’s cooking, which made me slowly fall in love with this vegetable.


Apart from the recipes that amma would cook for us, I have developed few recipes of my own which is loved by my family. I pair this bottle gourd with some lentils, beans and other vegetables to make it more appealing for those who are not too fond of it. One such recipe which always gets thumbs up is this Lauki Aloo Matar Curry. Potatoes and peas are loved by most and they make a pretty good combination in curries. So, combining these two with Lauki turned out to be no brainer, and the result is one of best tasting dish.



You will not find any dish made with bottle gourds served in most Indian restaurants or takeaways. This humble and underrated vegetable is reserved for home cooking. I love cooking vegetables that are bit bland to taste as they beautifully absorb all the flavours of carefully balanced spices and herbs and transforming into something that leaves one desiring for more. The transformation is quite dramatic and of theoretical sense, like how an ugly duckling transforms into a beautiful swan or how a caterpillar into a colourful butterfly! Vegetables like gourds give an immense freedom to cooks, and it’s up to a cook how they want to transform it into; delicious or bland, simple or complicated, sweet or savoury.



The recipe for this Lauki Aloo Matar Curry is pretty simple and straight-forward. I love to cook it with just handful of spices easily found in most Indian pantry, like the coriander powder, cumin powder, turmeric powder, chilli powder and the quintessential garam masala (not curry powder) which add bags of flavours. I am also not too fond of over complicated recipes, and hence stick to simple tomato based gravies which gives natural sweetness to the finished dish with a hint of tangy flavour. The addition of fresh ginger and garlic paste and good handful of coriander leaves elevates this curry to new heights. While the potatoes lend the creaminess to the gravy, the green peas add vibrancy to what otherwise a plain looking curry. And the main ingredient humble bottle gourd simply absorbs all the flavours, like a litmus paper, and transforms into a star of the dish. Do give this Lauki Aloo Matar a try when you buy bottle gourd next time and see if you too fall in love with this humble dish.




Lauki Aloo Matar Curry (A simple and easy mildly spiced bottle gourd curry with potato and peas cooked in a sweet and tangy tomato gravy)
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 25-30 mins
Recipe Level: Easy/Beginner
Spice Level: Low to medium
Serves: 6-7 people
Shelf Life: Up to 3 days in refrigerator
Serving Suggestion: With roti, paratha, naan or with plain rice

Ingredients:
3-4 cups Lauki/Dudhi/Bottle Gourd, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
2 medium Potatoes, boiled, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 cup Green Peas, fresh or frozen
1 medium Onion, peeled and thinly sliced
4-5 medium Tomatoes or 400 gms tinned Plum Tomatoes, pureed
1½ tsp Ginger-Garlic Paste
1-2 Green Chillies, slit (Optional, adjust as per taste)
½ - 1 tbsp Jaggery
1 cup Fresh Coriander Leaves with stems, washed and finely chopped
Salt to taste

Spices Used:
1 tsp Haldi/Turmeric Powder
1 tsp Red Chilli Powder (I have used Kashmiri Chilli Powder. Adjust as per taste)
1 tsp Jeera/Cumin Powder
1 tbsp Dhania/Coriander Powder
½ tsp Garam Masala

For Tadka/Tempering:
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds
2-3 Dry Red Chillies, halved
¼ tsp Hing/Asafoetida
2 springs Curry Leaves
1 tbsp Oil



Method:
Preparation:
  1. Wash and cook the potatoes with skin in a pressure cooker or deep pan with lid. Peel the boiled potatoes and dice them into 1 inch cubes.
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, peel and dice the bottle gourd into 1 inch cubes. Place them in a bowl of cold water to prevent from discolouring.
  3. Peel and thinly slice the onions.
  4. Roughly dice the fresh tomatoes and grind them to smooth puree in a food processor or mixer grinder. Alternately, you can puree one 400gms tinned plum tomatoes.
  5. Peel and roughly chop ginger and garlic and crush them to fine paste using pestle and mortar or spice grinder. Alternately, use ready to use ginger-garlic paste.
  6. Wash and remove the stalks of green chilli and slit them.
  7. Wash and finely chop the coriander leaves with stem.

Proceed to cook:
  1. Heat oil in a pan, and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and dry red chilli. When the mustard seeds pop and splutter, add hing, curry leaves and slit green chilli and stir them for few seconds.
  2. Next add sliced onions and generous pinch of salt. Sauté until the onions turn translucent, about 1 minute, on medium flame.
  3. Add ginger and garlic paste and sauté until their raw smell disappears, about 1-2 minutes.
  4. Next add the tomato puree, jaggery and turmeric powder and cover and cook it for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. The hot tomato puree with splutter when cooking, so be careful when stirring it.
  5. Add cumin powder, coriander powder and red chilli powder and mix them well. Next add diced bottle gourd pieces and about 2-3 cups of water. Cover the pan with lid and let it cook undisturbed on medium flame for about 7-8 minutes.
  6. Add boiled potatoes, green peas, 3/4th of finely chopped coriander leaves with stems and salt to taste. Add some water if needed. Mix them all well before covering the pan with lid and let it cook for 5-6 minutes or until the bottle gourd is cooked.
  7. Remove the lid and roughly mash some potatoes with a help of a ladle. This will help in thickening the gravy. Add remaining coriander leaves and garam masala and let it simmer for another 5 minutes.
  8. Turn off the flame and cover the pan with lid. Let the curry rest for atleast 10-15 minutes for all the flavours to blend.
  9. Serve this delicious Lauki Aloo Matar Curry with any Indian flat breads or with some basmati rice. The leftovers taste even better. Enjoy!




Sia’s Notes:
  • Try not to skimp on the coriander leaves used in this recipe as it gives whole new flavour dimension to the curry.
  • Adjust the quantity of water depending on the desired consistency or simply, how thick or thin you want the curry to be.
  • You can use courgettes or zucchini in place of bottle gourd. The cooking time will vary.

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