Mahanandi

Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Bottle Gourd with Chana Dal

Sorakaya Sanagabedala Kura

Bottle Gourd (Sorakaya, Dudhi, Lauki, Opo Squash)

I love this 20-minute preparation very much. The pale green beauty, Sorakaya is simply seasoned to show off its supple texture and slight sweet flavor. Like many recipes from my home, Nandyala, the flavoring is daal. And in this dish it’s the tasty and healthy chana dal. Not only traditional, recipes like these are also waist-friendly and stamina building. They will be part of my diet and featured frequently at Mahanandi, as I start to prepare for my trip to India late this summer.

Cook this kura with young and fresh looking sorakaya for best results.

Recipe:

Soak quarter-cup chana dal in water for at least 30 minutes.

Peel the skin, and cut the sorakaya (bottle gourd) into half-inch cubes. (I added 3 cups.)

In a pot, add and heat a teaspoon of oil. Add a pinch each cumin and mustard seeds. And also a pinch of asafoetida (hing, inguva). When the mustard seeds start to pop, add the rehydrated chana dal. Stir-fry for about two minutes.

Then add the bottle gourd cubes. Sprinkle ¼ teaspoon turmeric and ½ teaspoon red chilli powder. Also about quarter cup of water. Mix. Cook, covered on medium-heat, until the white bottle gourd cubes turn to translucent pearl like.

Stir in quarter teaspoon salt and a teaspoon each - jaggery and coconut gratings. Mix and cook for few more minutes. Serve immediately. (Sorakaya Kura is a wet preparation, but with no sauce or gravy.)

To serve, heat a chapati. Place a big spoonful of kura in the middle and spread, leaving about an inch border. Fold and roll to wrap. Eat.
(Sorakaya kura is good with chapati only, and not that good with rice.)

Health Labels:
Vegan, Waist-friendly
Sorakaya (bottle gourd): Pitta pacifying vegetable
Chana dal: Known for its anti-diabetic properties
Spices-cumin, mustard seeds, hing, turmeric - aid digestion and well-being

Bottle Gourd (Sorakaya, Dudhi, Lauki, Opo Squash)
Sorakaya Kura Wrapped in Chapati, with Steamed Carrots on the Side ~ Meal Today

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Chana Dal, Indian Vegetables, Sorakaya(Dudhi,Lauki), Amma & Authentic Andhra (Monday March 10, 2008 at 5:34 pm- permalink)
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Cookery, Indic (2) ~ by Veena Parrikar


Cooking with Green Leafy Vegetables
by Shyamala Kallianpur



Published in 1997 by Shyamala Kallianpur at Secunderabad, in Andhra Pradesh, India. ISBN 81-7525-059-3. (Click on the Bookcover for Author’s image)

If I were Eve in the Garden of Eden, the genesis of my fall from grace might not be the rosy apple, but the seemingly mundane edible greens. Such is the sway that this earthy bounty holds over my taste and imagination. They beckon me at markets with their dewy-fresh looks in variegated shades of green and their promise of glowing health. Thus, each weekend sees the grand entry of a motley bunch into my kitchen. Some of them get used up quickly in a zuNka, aloo-somegreenorother, or a soup. Then my inner child awakens and begins to clamour for something different. This would trigger a search through my cookbooks while the greens waited in anticipation and then shrivelled up with disappointment. For, my cookbooks have plenty of vegetable recipes, but leafy vegetables are almost an afterthought. Even in books that provide a respectable number of greens recipes, the varieties are restricted to spinach and methi, and sometimes mustard leaves. Part of this negligence stems out of certain inherent traits of edible greens; namely, they tend to be stubbornly local and seasonal. Most of them are not amenable to traveling long distances; hence, there are variations in the types of greens found even between neighbouring states. Cookery books intended to reach a pan-Indian or global audience cannot afford to waste space on recipes with main ingredients that are not found everywhere or at all times. It is perhaps a reflection of this constraint that the only cookbook in English on green leafy vegetables in India is self-published by the author.

Cooking with Green Leafy Vegetables by Shyamala Kallianpur should not have gone out of print. It is the only book that provides recipes for over 30 different kinds of edible greens found in India. It has clear colour photographs of about 35 varieties of leafy vegetables. More importantly, greens are treated with the care and respect they deserve. With a couple of exceptions (such as the Sindhi Sai Bhaji), the recipes never involve pressure-cooking the leafy vegetables or overpowering them with spices. They are steamed, sometimes fried, or cooked just until soft or wilted. Thus, the greens retain their flavour, colour, and nutrients in the final dish. The author also demonstrates a meticulousness that is not often seen in Indian cookbooks. For example, she explains the difference between “roughly cut”, “chop”, and “finely cut” for leafy vegetables. She not only explains her rationale for giving the measurements for greens in volume, but further tells you how to measure them in the cup (“do not press….but just fill it”). There are many traditional recipes from different regions of India; however, there are also enough innovative dishes to satisfy the need to do something different once in a while.

The chapters are organized according to specific greens: the commonly available ones such as spinach, methi, amaranth, Malabar spinach (see photo below), and cabbage have separate chapters. Within these chapters, the recipes run the gamut from dry sabzi and gravies to soups, snacks, and salads; especially for the first four of the aforementioned greens. With 64 recipes for these greens, I am now never at a loss when faced with yet another bundle of spinach or methi. The chapter titled Other Leafy Vegetables deals with other easily-available greens such as bathua, green-stemmed and purple-stemmed colocasia leaves, coriander leaves, curry leaves, gongura, kulfa (purslane, paruppu keerai), ambat chuka (khatta palak), mint, mustard leaves, manathakali leaves, spring onion stalks, and saranti saag (ponnanganni). It is the last chapter, however, that I find the most interesting. Rather awkwardly titled, Some More “Other Leafy Vegetables” covers greens that grow in home gardens and are not available in the market, or not used much despite their market availability. Here you will find recipes for beetroot leaves, cauliflower greens, radish leaves, carrot greens, garlic leaves, pumpkin leaves, pomegranate leaves, drumstick leaves, tamarind leaves, brahmi, shepu (dill) taikiLo, omum (celery) leaf, and gherkin (kundru) leaf. There are only a few recipes for each of these vegetables, but the book gives a glimpse of the sheer expanse of possibilities that exists with edible greens.

Before writing this review I tried, rather unsuccessfully, to find the total number of edible leafy vegetables that grow in India. It is no secret that the undocumented heritage of Indian cuisines far exceeds the documented, but I can think of no other area, besides edible greens, where this truism applies more strongly. This study identified 42 species of plants with edible leaves or flowers in a single district in West Bengal. Our awareness is limited to only those greens that make it to the market, either through wholesalers or small village vendors who sell seasonal homegrown fare. Kallianpur’s book should have been just one in a long series of such works by various authors from several Indian states. This might be a tall order for commercial publishers, but an initiative funded by the government or NGOs with a nationwide reach might be one of the ways to highlight this rich culinary biodiversity and preserve it from the forest-fires of globalization.

Recipe: Kothchol (Indian Red Spinach with Bottle Gourd)

Adapted from Shyamala Kallianpur’s Cooking with Green Leafy Vegetables


Top: Malabar spinach, also known as Indian Red Spinach. Bottom: Bottle gourd

Ingredients:
Chopped Indian red spinach – 4 cups
Tender stalks of the spinach, cut into 2-cm length – 2 cups
Bottle gourd – ¼ kg (peeled and diced into small cubes)
Jaggery – 1 tablespoon
Salt to taste

Grind to a fine paste:
Grated coconut – 1 cup
Dried red chillies – 5 (sauté them in a little bit of oil first)
Raw rice – 1 tablespoon (soak it water for 10 minutes)
Tamarind – one lime-sized ball (use less if your tamarind is strong)

Tempering:
Oil – 1 teaspoon
Garlic – 8 to 10 cloves, crushed (no need to peel).

Method:
Take the chopped stalks in a vessel, add one cup of water, cover and cook on low heat till the stalks are tender. Then add the diced bottle gourd and salt. Cover and cook until the bottle gourd is just-cooked, but not too soft. Now add the chopped spinach, jaggery, and ground masala. Bring to a boil and simmer until the spinach is cooked. Remove from heat. Prepare the tempering: heat oil in a small pan or tempering vessel and sauté the garlic, but do not let it brown. Pour the oil and garlic pieces onto the hot cooked vegetables and cover them quickly. Keep for five to ten minutes, then serve hot with rice.


This is a typical dish from Shyamala Kallianpur’s Chitrapur Saraswat community.

Text and Photos: Veena Parrikar

Previously in the Cookery, Indic series:

Introduction
Salads for All Occasions - Vijaya Hiremath

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Spinach, Sorakaya(Dudhi,Lauki), Coconut (Fresh), Reviews: Cookbooks, Veena Parrikar, Bacchali(Malabar Spinach) (Monday February 4, 2008 at 12:03 am- permalink)
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Sorakaya Pappu (Dudhi Dal)

Photo Purchase Keywords: Dal, Bottle Gourd
(It takes money, time, effort and energy for food photography. Please don’t photosteal. Click on the links and purchase the photos legally to digital download and to print. Thanks.)

A good many people seem to have a mental block against bottle gourd (= Sorakaya, Dudhi, Lauki). I too did have some time ago, but lately the availability of fresh looking and young vegetables at nominal price made me revisit the old classics as well as do little experimentation with bottle gourd.

The following recipe is one of many pappu (dal) arrows from my mother’s recipe quiver. If you do not like eating raw vegetables, then cook them with toor dal. That’s the common practice at my home, and also in many homes in Andhra Pradesh. It works perfectly. See, now I’m addicted to vegetable-dal combinations.

In this dal recipe, the slightly sweet bottle gourd is protein powered with toor dal, flavored with tamarind and chilli, and seasoned with tadka. Definitely, this will ease your way in any bottle gourd battle.

Bottle Gourd (Sorakaya, Dudhi, Lauki, Opo Squash) and Toor Dal
Bottle Gourd (Sorakaya, Dudhi, Lauki) and Toor Dal

Recipe:

¾ cup - toor dal (kandi pappu)
1½ to 2 cups - finely cubed bottle gourd (Sorakaya, Dudhi)
¼ cup - coarsely chopped onion
½ teaspoon each (or to taste)- red chilli powder and turmeric
Marble ball sized tamarind

For popu or tadka:
1 tablespoon ghee or peanut oil
6 each - curry leaves, crushed garlic
Pinch each - cumin, mustard seeds and hing (asafoetida)

Take toor dal in a pressure cooker. Rinse the dal with water. Add the bottle gourd cubes, onion, chilli powder, turmeric and tamarind. Add about one to two cups of water. Mix. Close the lid and steam-cook until toor dal reaches the fall-apart stage. Then add salt, and coarsely mash the ingredients together.

The dal benefits greatly from my daily vitamin dose, I call popu or tadka. Let’s heat ghee or oil in a vessel. Add the curry leaves and garlic. Toast them to pale brown, and then add the cumin, mustard seeds and hing. When the seeds start to pop, add the mashed dal to the vessel. Mix and serve the dal with rice or with chapati.

For a true Andhra experience, mix the dal with rice and ghee. Shape into small rounds like shown below. Dip them in pickle or podi. Enjoy.

Sorakaya Pappannam Mudda (Bottle Gourd Dal mixed with Rice and Shaped to a Round)
Sona Masuri Rice mixed with Sorakaya Pappu, and Shaped to a Round ~ A Bharath Experience

- Indira

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Toor Dal, Sorakaya(Dudhi,Lauki), Amma & Authentic Andhra (Monday January 21, 2008 at 7:14 pm- permalink)
Comments (31)

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Bottle Gourd, Fuzzy Melon and Silk Squash

Photo Purchase Keyword: Squash
(It takes money, time, effort and energy for food photography. Please don’t photosteal. Click on the links and purchase the photos legally to digital download and to print. Thanks.)

Bottle Gourd, Silk Squash
Bottle Gourd, Fuzzy Melon & Silk Squash ~ Pitta Pacifying Vegetables
for This Week’s Indian Kitchen

Bottle Gourd is also known as Sorakaya (Telugu), Anapakaya (Telugu), Dudhi (Hindi), Lauki (Hindi), calabash (Italian?), Opo squash.

Fuzzy Melon is sold as Foo Gwa and Mooqua at local Vietnamese grocery.

Silk Squash, other names are Neti Beerakaya (Telugu), Silk Melon and Chinese Okra (Chinese grocery shops).

- Indira

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Indian Vegetables, Sorakaya(Dudhi,Lauki), Indian Ingredients, Indian Kitchen, Beerakaya-Neti(Silk Squash) (Sunday January 20, 2008 at 7:03 pm- permalink)
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Lauki Chole

Photo Purchase Keywords: Chickpeas, Bottle Gourd
(It takes money, time, effort and energy for food photography. Please don’t photosteal. Click on the links and purchase the photos legally to digital download and to print. Thanks.)

I am sure you must have come across people who constantly fish for opinions. “Should I do this?”, “What do you think about this?”, “Do you think this suits me?” The first few times it’s endearing, and then it starts to get annoying. “I see a head on your neck, don’t you have a functioning brain?” You want to hurl back the questions. Whenever I see such fishing activity in virtual world, I wonder whether this coquettish routine is a clever manipulation for comments or a confused cry for help. Whatever the reason might be, it is always better to avoid such people who act like they need to conduct focus groups for everything.

When it comes to cooking, here is a recipe that doesn’t need a focus group to know it tastes good. Well, the recipe is lauki-chole, and it has silk like lauki also known as bottle gourd and smooth tasting chickpeas. Chickpeas are one legume that can stand on their own in taste department. They can pamper other ingredients without pandering to them. That’s a good company to have.

Bottle Gourd, Sorakaya, Lauki, Dudhi
Bottle Gourd (Lauki, Sorakaya, Dudhi), Chickpeas and Tomato

Recipe:
(for two, for two meals)

1 tablespoon - ghee
1 onion- finely chopped
4 tomatoes - finely chopped
1 small bottle gourd (lauki, Dudhi, Sorakaya), about 6-8″
3 cups chickpeas, pre-soaked in water
1 tablespoon chana masala powder (homemade or store-bought)
Chilli powder, turmeric, salt, and lemon juice - to taste
1 tablespoon - kasuri methi

Cook chickpeas to tender in salted water. Drain. Separate about half cup and puree to fine, for a low-calorie chole thickener.

Lightly scrape the bottle gourd’s (lauki) skin, cut to middle lengthwise. Scoop the seeds out and then cut the white part to bite-sized cubes.

Heat ghee in a big pot. Add onions and tomatoes. Saute to soft mush. Add the cubed bottle gourd. Saute to tender. Add the chickpeas and the chickpea paste. Also stir in the spices - chana masala powder, chilli, turmeric powders, and salt. Add about a cup of water. Mix well. Simmer, covered for about 15 to 20 min. At the end, sprinkle the kasuri methi and lemon juice. Mix and serve right away.

I like chole. The chickpeas in chole are good with vegetable combination, and they make filling meal with minimum effort. This type of vegetable chole satisfies any grain - rice, chapati, pasta, millet and even the toasted bread.

Lauki Chole
Lauki-chole with Rice, Lemon and Pickled Pepper ~ Meal Today

Lauki in Ayurveda, Lauki at backyard garden
Bindiya’s Kashmiri recipe with lauki

Indira

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Chickpeas, Sorakaya(Dudhi,Lauki) (Thursday January 17, 2008 at 9:09 pm- permalink)
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Bottle Gourd in Yogurt

Dear L.G, before writing at her fabulous food blog Ginger and Mango, used to comment on ‘Mahanandi’ occasionally. Her comments were delightful and informative just like her current blog posts. In one of her comments in response to my mother’s recipe of sorakaya, she detailed a Kerala recipe of yogurt based bottle gourd curry and asked me to give it a try.

I have always wanted to visit God’s Own Country - “Kerala”. I don’t know when I am going to do that, but for now I am content to try at least Kerala cuisine. Yogurt and coconut based curries are hallmarks of Kerala cuisine and they call them “kaalan“. Here is my first attempt at bottle gourd kaalan, I hope I did justice to this traditional recipe and will be allowed to enter the God’s own country.:)


Yogurt, Bottle Gourd Cubes, Curry Leaves, Coconut-Chilli Paste

Recipe:
1 cup of cubed bottle gourd pieces
1 cup of day old, homemade Indian yogurt (sour curd)
6 green chillies and 1 tablespoon of fresh grated coconut (made into smooth paste)
½ teaspoon of each - turmeric and salt
For popu or tadka:
1 tsp of oil
1 tsp of cumin and mustard seeds, few pieces of dried red chillies and curry leaves

In a saucepan, heat oil on medium heat. Add and toast the tadka ingredients. Add the bottle gourd cubes and also green chilli-coconut paste. Stir in turmeric, salt and about quarter cup of water. Close the lid and cook on medium-low heat, until the bottle gourd pieces are tender. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the yogurt. Turn off the heat and remove the saucepan from the stove. Cover the pot with a lid and let the curry sit for about 15 minutes, for the flavors to mingle well. Serve warm with rice.

The curry tasted superb! Vijay more than me couldn’t get enough of this curry and we finished all in one setting. Thanks L.G for sharing this wonderful, traditional recipe.


Bottle Gourd in Yogurt Curry with Rice ~ Our Simple Meal Today

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Green Chillies, Sorakaya(Dudhi,Lauki), Yogurt, Coconut (Fresh) (Wednesday July 19, 2006 at 3:07 pm- permalink)
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Bottle Gourd in Sesame (Sorakaya-Nuvvula Kura)

Few months ago, I wrote about my mother’s recipe of bottle gourd. It is a standard, no fuss kind of recipe with minimum ingredients. I like the taste of that curry and played around with the recipe little bit and came up with this one. It is also a simple no-nonsense recipe and supplies carbos (bottle gourd), protein (black chana) and fat (sesame seeds). I love the taste and also the ease with which it can be prepared.

Bottle gourd Pieces (Sorakaya, Lauki)
Bottle Gourd (Sorakaya, Dudhi) - Peeled, Cut into Cubes

Recipe:

Prep Work:
One cup of black chickpeas (kala chana) soaked in water overnight.
Half of medium-sized bottle gourd (sora kaya, dudhi), peeled and cut into half-inch pieces (about 2 cups)

Cook:
Heat a teaspoon of peanut oil. Toast a teaspoon of cumin, mustard seeds and curry leaves (for tadka).
Add the bottle gourd pieces and soaked kala chana. Saut? for few minutes on medium heat. Add about a cup of water and close the lid and cook.

Sesame-Dalia paste:
Meanwhile prepare the curry thickener. Grind in a blender:
3 tablespoons of each - sesame seeds and dalia
½ tablespoon of each - tamarind juice and powdered jaggery
1 teaspoon of each - coriander seeds (dhania), cumin and red chilli powder
½ teaspoon of salt or to taste
Grind them to smooth paste by adding about one cup of water.

Simmer:
Add the sesame-dalia paste to the curry. Stir in half teaspoon of turmeric. Mix and on medium heat, simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the curry reaches the consistency you desire.
Tastes great with chapatis/naans and with sorghum rotis.

Bottle gourd curry with chapatis
Bottle gourd curry with chapatis

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Sesame Seeds, Sorakaya(Dudhi,Lauki), Jaggery, Chana Dal-Roasted (Dalia) (Tuesday July 18, 2006 at 7:21 pm- permalink)
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Bottle Gourd Curry (Dudhi/Sorakaya Kura)

Bottle Gourd, Sorakaya, Dudhi, Lauki and Lau

I remember the mock fights with my sisters using this lengthy, stout vegetable, when we were children. This vegetable was our makeshift club in our funny fights. There are other stories that I still could remember to this day related to this vegetable. My mother used to plant this vegetable every year in our backyard and the crop was surplus to our family… in those days I dreamt of making a lot of money by selling surplus produce, which never materialized. After some time we were tired of eating this vegetable and I tried to convince my mother not to plant this vegetable in vain. One year we had a crop of more than 200 of these and needless to say, if you were our neighbor during that time, you would have received some of these from us for free, you might have begged us not to sent any more too.:)

Sorakaya in Telugu and bottle gourd, lauki, dudhi or lau in different Indian languages, here is one of my mother’s recipe with bottle gourd. Not a lot of ingredients, very simple and basic - tastes good only with chapatis and jowar roti.

bottle gourd cubes, Dalia (roasted chana dal), red chilli powder, turmeric and jaggery

Recipe:

Bottle gourd - medium sized - outer skin peeled, then cut into cubes.
1 cup of dalia(pappulu, pottu kadalai) - finely powdered
Dalia or Pappulu is a type of dal made by roasting the chana dal or bengal gram
1 teaspoon of red chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon each of salt and turmeric
Jaggery, one tablespoon or to your liking

Heat one teaspoon of peanut oil in a big saucepan, toast mustard seeds, cumin and curry leaves. Add the bottle gourd cubes. Cover and cook them in their own moisture. When they are little bit softened, add the finely powdered dalia (pappulu), red chilli powder, salt, turmeric and jaggery. Add half glass of water and mix them all thoroughly, without any lumps. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes until the sauce thickens and bottle gourd pieces turn soft.

Serve hot with chapatis or with jowar(Sorghum) roti.

Bottle gourd curry (Sora kaya Kura) and chapatis
Bottle gourd curry and chapatis

After two days of silence in our kitchen (because of newyear celebrations at friends house), Vijay and I prepared this simple meal today.

Recipe source: Amma
Note to the reader: The sauce to this curry is mainly made of dalia powder. If you think, there is not enough sauce, powder some more dalia and add it to the curry and adjust the seasoning like salt and jaggery to your taste.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Sorakaya(Dudhi,Lauki), Amma & Authentic Andhra, Chana Dal-Roasted (Dalia) (Monday January 2, 2006 at 9:39 pm- permalink)
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