Sorekai (Lauki, Ghiya, Doodhi, Bottle gourd) Salan

Bottle gourd or Sorekai or Lauki, Ghiya,Doodhi is one vegetable absent in my mother's kitchen. Strangely enough even grand mother seems to have banned this one vegetable from her kitchen. I know my family is not supposed to eat Snake gourd because of the special pooja for the well being of my father long time back. There could be a similar story with this vegetable as well. I should remember to ask mom later. Well as far as I am concerned, I always felt bottle gourd looks better for musical instrument than something I did have for dinner-lunch. My opinion firmed up after eating the Lauki subzi served in Sabarmati hostel, JNU my home away from home a few years back. The mucilaginous channa dal along with the mushy lauki was anything but appetising. But this week end during our religious shopping ceremony, Honey found this real fresh bottle gourd lying cozyly in the bin. He had already set his heart upon it and there was no way I could stop him from buying the vegetable even though I had never experimented with this one before.
Despite my discouragement, the item found a place in our shopping cart, and later on, on our dining table. Being very alien to the vegetable, I took the help of Sanjeev Kapoor of Khana Khazana. He has this wonderful recipe to offer, it is a Hydrabadi style salan.
I was so sure that I will not like the vegetable nor the preparation I skipped on the Panner called for in the original recipe.(Why waste Panner when the dish is destined for the dust bin ??). I also finished the dish with some fresh mint, I happened to have that day. The result was yum. It is a very good recipe. It has already found a way into my written recipe collection and surprise I had it for both my lunch and dinner. Honey was not complaining either :) 

We will need,

Sorekayi/ bottle gourd  1 lb trimmed and chopped into 1.5" cubes
Peanut oil 4-5 tbsp
Mustard seeds 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds 1/2 tsp
Fennel seeds 1/4 tsp
Fenugreek seeds 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves a handful
Onion 1 medium
Garlic 3 cloves
Ginger 3/4" piece
Turmeric powder 1/4 tsp
Cumin powder 1/2 tsp
Red chilli powder 1/2 tsp (adjust according to taste)
Dhania powder 1/2 tsp
Tamarind concentrate 1/2 tsp
Peanuts 2 tbsp
Kopra 2 tbsp
Sesame seeds 1 tsp
Mint a handful
Coriander a handful

  • Cook the chopped bottle gourd in about 1 cup of water till crisp tender. Set it aside.
  • Combine the onion, garlic and ginger in a blender with some water and pulse till the smooth.
  • Heat the oil in a thick bottom pot. Throw in the mustard, cumin, fennel and fenugreek seeds. Once they stop spluttering add the curry leaves, followed  by the onion paste. Cook till the mixture is deep golden brown.
  • Throw in the turmeric, cumin, red chilli powder and dhania powder. Stir and cook for a few more  minutes till the oil separates. 
  • Throw in the tamarind concentrate and about 1/4 c of water. Simmer on very  for a few minutes till the raw smell of the tamarind disappears. 
  • Meantime, toast till fragrant the peanuts, kopra and sesame seeds separately on a hot pan. Remove from heat and grind it into a fine powder.Set it aside.
  • Transfer the cooked bottle gourd. Simmer for a couple of minutes gently tossing the bottle gourd.
  • Stir in the nut mixture into the bottle gourd. Simmer for a few more minutes till everything is well combined.
  • Adjust salt, throw in the garam masala and finish with some chopped fresh mint and fresh coriander. Serve hot with rotis.


Vani said...

Surprisingly, I don't cook too much sorekayi either. Such an unassuming veggie that. I do enjoy anything made with it.

Savi-Ruchi said...

I love sorekayi. nanage idara sambar, majjige huli, palya, halwa yella ista. This one is a new recipe Smitha. Need to try it :)

Sudhir R said...

Lauki or Kadhu as we call it is a great vegetable. How about the Agra ka Peta..made entirely of Kadhu, I love it. Never miss a chance to buy it in delhi, ufortunetly last week when in Delhi, myself and Basavaraj could not buy anywhere in his locality.
We use Kadhu a lot, but always in Mutton. Kadhu ka Dalcha, Mutton cooked with dal with pieces of Kadhu makes a great dish to go with Biriyni or Pulao.
But alas you don't eat Mutton.

Hari Chandana P said...

OMG!!... my fav sorakai.. looks soo delicious.. very tempting click!!

Kannada Cuisine said...

@Vani! I guess it is also an under rated vegetable, and also that it needs to be just cooked and a little over cooking leaves it unpalatable rendering it rather on the tougher side of culinary arts :)

@Sush! Astella madtira? Hagadre nim blog nalli recipes search madbeku with Sorekayi of course :)

@Sudhir! I always thought Petha was made of Ash Gourd or boodhkumabalakai!!I am sure either ways it does not matter, I love Kesar petha and I am sure the Kadhu ka Dalcha tastes heavenly for people who appreciate meats. May be S akka can make it for Deepu when we visit next time....Delhi?? must have been a quick trip...

@Hari chandana... Thanks

Anonymous said...

Sorry for belated comments.Sorekayi contains toxic principles. An ISRO scientist has died eating Sorekayi or Lauki.It contains cucurbitacins which cause heavy bleeding and total destruction of the gastric lining with as little as 50 ml of the juice. And, NO, the toxin isn't destroyed by cooking either :-(

Kannada Cuisine said...

@ Ashwath

I am very sorry to hear that. But one question remains.. Sorekai has been grown and widely consumed in India for ages. I am not sure if this toxicity report has more to it than just Sorekai..Thanks anyway I will read and post more about it..