Friday, March 13, 2009

Lazeez Lauki

I had been eyeing this recipe for sometime now but kept putting it off thinking it's too complicated and time consuming. When Lavi announced RCI-Lucknow, I finally took the plunge. The lauki is filled with a delicious stuffing and simmered in a mixture of onion paste and spiced yogurt for a little taste of heaven!

Lazeez Lauki

RCI is an event started by Lakshmi and hosted by Lavi this month with Lucknawi food as the theme. The Nawabi food of Lucknow is royal indeed with generous use of rich foods like khoya, cream, ghee, saffron, nuts, dry fruits etc in many of their dishes. This Lazeez Lauki again comes from Dastarkhwan-e-Awadh, a cookbook dedicated to Awadhi cuisine. I adapted the recipe to use the ingredients I had in hand and substitited where necessary. I have used paprika and turmeric for color. Recipe calls for saffron and kewra water, both of which I skipped. I'm sure that would've added a whole new dimension to the flavour. Recipe also has khoya for stuffing but I used paneer instead. I've used garam masala in place of the roasted and ground spices that the original recipe had. I've tweaked and taken short cuts here but I think it was still the longest time I've taken to prepare a curry! But the lauki was still very lazeez! :)

Ingredients:

Bottle gourd

For stuffing:
1/4 cup crumbled paneer (recipe calls for khoya)
2 tbsp cashewnuts, chopped and roasted
1 tsp yogurt
salt to taste

For grinding:
2 onions, chopped and fried till golden brown
1 tbsp poppy seeds, roasted

1 cup yogurt, beaten
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp red chilli powder (or to taste)
1 tsp garam masala powder
1 tbsp ghee/oil
salt to taste


Wash and peel the gourd. If too long then cut into two halves (I used just a half). Remove the pith with a knife. Prick the outside uniformly with a fork. Apply a teaspoon of salt all over and keep aside for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, fry the finely sliced onions in ghee to a golden brown and grind to a paste along with the roasted poppy seeds. If too dry, add a little yogurt to help with the grinding.
Prepare the stuffing by frying the cashewnuts in some ghee. Mix it in with crumbled paneer, 1 tsp yogurt, salt and keep aside.
Pat the gourd dry and fry in the ghee previously used. Evenly brown all over. Drain ghee and remove. Fill the gourd with the prepared stuffing.
In the yogurt, mix the onion/poppy seed paste, garam masala, red chilli powder, paprika, turmeric and salt & blend well. I had some leftover stuffing that I added in the mixture, which made the sauce chunky. Heat the mixture in the pan, along with the stuffed gourd. Cover with lid and cook on low for 30 minutes, until the gourd is cooked through.
Serve hot on a platter, garnished with coriander. Carve round slices while serving. Tastes delicious with chapati or warqui paratha.

46 comments:

Asha said...

YUM! I have a cookbook with this recipe too, but with Snake gourd/Padavalkayi. Looks so good and perfect entry. You are cooking more these days, goo for you!

Hugs to you,enjoy. Very busy weekend for me. I don't want to be stressed but likely with about 6-8 teenagers in the living room with guitars and drums. I think I will go to my cabin and read or something! :D

Happy cook said...

I have never had this, itlooks so yummy delicious, wish i could taste this.

Jaya said...

Vani,
OMG!! these looks so delicious and I am sure the effort is worth trying ..great one ...yeah your are right there awadhi cuisine is rich and uses lots of dry fruits/khoya/cream ...
this one is just a winner ..
hugs and smiles

Ashwini said...

Looks so fab and mouthwatering..perfect entry. rich and creamy gravy..

Cham said...

Looks really tasty the gravy and veggie, I will look the site u provided and cook something, sounds very delicous awadhi cuisine Vani!

Usha said...

Wow this looks really rich and creamy ! I am sure it tasted awesome :-)

A_and_N said...

Gosh I should so try this! Looks amazing

indosungod said...

You are on a roll. Looks so delicious Vani. I just love the creamy and rich gravy. Now I am more curious about a sweet dish. Do you have any coming up ;)

Madhu Taneja, Ameeta Atul & Ashima Taneja said...

wow Vani ...... this looks delicious ...... even though I am from Lucknow I have still never had this dish ..... always heard about it though ......

lovely collection of recipes at your blog ......

-Ashima

meeso said...

That's a great looking dish!

Pooja said...

Nice pic vani..Looking great..

Sharmila said...

This is a new dish Vani! Stuffed lauki! Sounds wonderful .. and the snap looks awesome! :-)

sra said...

Ah, the 'umble bottlegourd - what a transformation! I made a stir-fry of an entire b.gourd three days ago, haven't been able to touch it, and it's not like I dislike it. Just guess it's not looking exciting enough.

sampada said...

hey vani,
nice recipe..sounds delicious..i always love to make bottleguard dishes...picture looks so inviting. recently my husband got transferred to U.S. here i had a hard time to find ingredients. anyway one of my friend introduced to a great resource www.myethnicworld.com where i can pass great along as well.

Priya Sriram said...

Looks lovely Vani! Would make a very good side dish for paratha!

Arch said...

Great looking picture and am sure it tasted awesome too...very innovative dish with a plain and simple lauki !

Vani said...

Asha- looks like a full weekend for you! Enjoy the b'days :)

HC - first time cooking with lauki for me. the dish was really nice

Jaya- rich foods so can indulge occasionally only. It was a good recipe I found :)

Ashwini - thanks :)

Cham - do look up the site. Has some really good non-veg recipes too :)

Vani said...

Usha - yeah, rich and made richer with panner/cashew in the gravy. It was awesome :)

A&N - and it was! :)

ISG - yeah, on one of my positive blogging phases right now. Having no sweet tooth to speak of, no sweets post coming up, I'm afraid :(

AShima - thanks! loved your blog too :)

Meeso- thanks :)

Vani said...

Pooja- thanks :)

Sharmila - I never tried it before too but was just ogling at the recipe for months now! Got a chance to actually make it this time :)

Sra- I know what u mean about not wanting to eat something sometimes. yeah and humble no more with this dish! This was my first time cooking with lauki. I made muthiyas with leftover lauki and that was great too. I'll have to try other dishes and I know where to look for recipes :)

Sampada - thanks for the nice comment. Will check out the website u mentioned :)

Priya - thanks :)

Arch - thanks. this recipe sure dressed up the simple lauki :)

Uma said...

what a delicious way to eat lauki! Lovely recipe Vani!

Ann said...

Wow what a delicious dish Vani...and amazing clicks here makes me your follower..i missed you,but not from today..keep going Vani.

Divz said...

hi vani...first time on ur blog..lovely clicks!! i am feeling bad why hadn't i spotted ur blog all this while?

keerthana said...

hi Vani,isn't that what we call sorekai? that looks delicious. never heard of this dish before.

Mangala Bhat said...

wow ! nice pic and recipe looks creamy and rich ..:)

Sandeepa said...

Have had lauki kofta but this is just too good

Chitra said...

nice pics,lovely clicks vani!!DO visit my blog when u r free:)

Vani said...

Uma - thank you :)

Ann - that's so sweet! thanks :)

Divz- don't blame you. I may be missing about half the South Asian blogs in the blogosphere. we are a pretty big community, right? nice to have found you :)

Vani said...

Keerthana - yup, it's the sorekayi. tho' my mom makes it sometimes, I've never tried to cook sorekayi at home before. Made muthiyas with leftover that were nice too. I think I'm turning into a fan of this veggie :)

Mangala - thanks :)

San - can't go wrong with ghee, paneer and cashews :)

Chitra- thanks for stopping by! just left you a comment :)

Purva Desai said...

This is completely new dish, rich and tasty...
Will try this soon, thanks for sharing

SriLekha said...

wow! a unique dish for me vani!
looks so tempting!

Laavanya said...

That looks awesome.. I love how the sunlight falls on it.. Makes it look heavenly :)

bee said...

what a gorgeous pic!!!

Vani said...

Purva SriLekha, Laavanya, Bee- thanks, all!

Paru ... said...

Vani, thats one great looking dish out there..Bookmarking this, need to definetly try it..

Pavithra Kodical said...

This is so new to me..Recipe sounds interesting and looks delicious.Worth all the effort.Great post :)

Jayashree said...

That is such a tempting pic Vani....looks delicious.

Vani said...

Paru, Pavithra, Jaysshree - thank you, girls! :)

Sia said...

OMG, OMG!!! how in the world i missed this post!
what a pretty looking plate of stuffed lauki. i had made stuffed lauki from raghavan iyer's 660 curries and loved it. i am one of those crazy fans of lauki and gonna make this pretty soon. thanks vani for this awesome recipe :)

srikars kitchen said...

wow.. new dish to me.. i will try .. thxs for sharing...

Sunshinemom said...

lauki really looks lazeez. I think I have eaten this long back at a restaurant. You just reminded me of it!!

Vani said...

Sia - thanks! glad u found it now and liked it. Saw your stuffed lauki too. looks delicious!

Sri, Sunshinemom - thanks for your comments, both! :)

Susan said...

Now that I have more working knowledge of Indian spices and legumes, the amazing world of Indian veggies is next. I currently have bags of bitter gourd and red chiles in my freezer.

Vani, this looks incredible. Fascinating food! Thanks for opening my eyes and making me hungry to try even more recipes. : )

Vani said...

Susan- thank you for stopping by and your nice comment :)

Aparna Prabhu said...

Hey Vani i saw ur blog just today nd really loved lots of foodies.....
:)
keep visiting mine too
regards always

themustardseed said...

This is one of the best versions of lauki sabzi I have seen. Looks really good.

Vani said...

TMS - it was really good. I've not made this since though. I shd soon!