• Saturday, February 28, 2015


Bottle gourd recipes

By Salina Parvin

Found in every kitchen of a Bangladeshi household, bottle gourd, believed to have originated in Africa, constitutes a major part of the local cuisine. Like it or not, this gourd has dominated the domestic main course menu since time immemorial. Locally known as 'Lau', this vegetable is not that popular in the western world.
What's making this popular these days is its enormous impact on the treatment of hypertension and other heart diseases. The myriad health benefits of bottle gourd is not known to many, yet unknowingly it is consumed in considerable portions in Bangladeshi families (mostly rural) because of the availability and the low price tag it carries.

Interesting facts about bottle gourd
Bottle gourd is believed to help the liver function.
The juice from the leaves help cure jaundice and juice from the gourd helps reduce greying of hair.
The gourd juice helps treat urinary infection if consumed with lime juice.
It helps fight constipation, as it is rich in fibre and has a low fat content. Ayurveda highly recommends this food for diabetic patients and young children.
Bottle gourd is also considered one of the best weight-loss foods since it is 96 per cent water and provides just 12 calories per 100g of serving.
It is rich in thiamin, vitamin, zinc, iron and magnesium thus helping in improving overall health.

Bottle gourd seed bhorta
Bhorta is a popular dish in all the districts of Bangladesh. Bottle gourd seed bhorta is quite simple to make and is delicious by itself. Enjoy with warm rice.  
1 cup bottle gourd seed      
2 tbsp chopped onion           
½ tbsp chopped garlic          
½ tsp turmeric powder        
1 tbsp chopped green chilli     
1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
2 tbsp mustard oil                        
Salt to taste
Blend the bottle gourd seeds in a food processor until smooth, keep aside. Heat oil, fry chopped onion, garlic until golden brown. Now add the paste, turmeric powder, green chilli, coriander leaves and salt. Keep stirring continuously. When oil floats over, remove the pan from heat and prepare to serve.

Shrimp-in-leaf is a Vietnamese cuisine. The climate and food in Vietnam is quite similar to that of Bangladesh. One may use meat or fish instead of shrimp in this dish. Mustard and coconut pastes are used here to give a traditional Bangladeshi touch.
10 pieces shrimp
10 pieces bottle gourd leaves    
1 tbsp onion paste        
½ tsp garlic paste        
1 tsp mustard paste    
1 tsp green chilli paste
2 tbsp mustard oil            
1 tbsp coconut paste
Salt to taste
Cut and wash bottle gourd leaves. Meanwhile add all ingredients to the shrimp; mix and leave them for about 15 minutes to marinate. Now take a shrimp, fold it inside bottle gourd leaf and tie up with a piece of thread. Brush oil on a fry pan, place the wrapped shrimp in it and cook in low heat for 10 minutes with lid on. Cook the other side for another 10 minutes the same way. Remove the pan from oven, untie the threads and prepare to serve.
Tips: Shrimp-in-leaf can be cooked in a steamer or inside hot rice. This dish can be served with naan, parata or plain rice.

Lau khichuri
Khichuri is a South Asian preparation made from rice and lentils. It is said that khichuri was developed in India during the medieval periods. Its first mention dates back to the 15th century when the Russian adventurer Afanasiy Nikitin took a note of this dish in his travelogue. But the Mughals popularised this dish. The mention of the khichuri recipes are found in the Ain-i-Akbari which is written by Mughal Emperor Akbar's minister Abu'l-Fazl ibn Mubarak. Usually while making khichuri we use rice, lentils, spice and vegetables. I used bottle gourd along with it. I hope you will like it.
2 cup (cut into cubes) bottle gourd
2 cup aromatic rice
½ cup mashoor daal
½ cup moong daal    
½ cup onion slice                   
1 tsp ginger paste             
½ tsp garlic paste             
½ tsp turmeric powder          
6 pieces whole green chilli         
3 pieces bay leaves                
½ cup ghee                             
Coriander leaves (for garnish)
Salt to taste
6 cup water
Soak rice and daal in water for one hour and let the water drain. Heat ghee in a pan and put sliced onion and stir. When it turns golden brown, fry all the spices in it. Now put rice, daal and bottle gourd and stir for some time. Add water, salt, and green chilli; put the lid on and cook for 10 minutes. When water is reduced stir and put the lid back. Leave it on low heat for another 10 minutes. When cook completely, garnish with coriander leaves and serve on a platter.       

We Bengalis are very fond of sweets and there is no doubt about it. We do consume sweets on different occasions and in large quantities. Here is a simple recipe for that special sweet dish.
3 cup grated bottle gourd              
½ cup ghee                                     
1 cup sugar                                 
½ cup powder milk                         
½ cup Mawa                                    
2 pieces cardamom                        
2 pieces cinnamon                              
3 tbsp grated almond                   
A few drops of red food colour                   
Bring large pot of water to boil. Add food colour, grated bottle gourd and blanch for one minute. Leave in colander to drain water. Pour ghee on a non-stick pan. When ghee becomes hot, put the cardamom, the cinnamon and the blanched bottle gourd, one after another. Keep on stirring until water inside them completely evaporates. Now add powdered milk and sugar to it and stir the mixture until it separates from the pan. Mix the mawa, grated almond and raisins. When properly mixed allow it to cool down and serve.

Published: 12:00 am Tuesday, February 25, 2014

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