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Friday, May 6, 2016

Lau Ghonto and Lau-er Khosa Charchari ~ Two Bengali Veg dish of Bottle Gourd

   Lau, as we call it in Bengali, in other parts of India, it is known as Lauki or Dudhi, is very low caloric vegetable and very low in fat. Because of its high water content, it's very cooling, calming, diuretic and easy to digest. Therefore, it's a great summer food. It is rich in iron and also has vitamins C and B complex. It is high in fiber, thus very effective for light, low calorie diet, people with digestive disorders and constipation. If you are planning to loose weight, add it to your diet daily.

Bottle gourd has many healing powers, even though it is not so popular in Western World, but it is widely used in India. Bottle gourd is valuable treating Urinary disorder, balancing Liver Function, treating High blood pressure and heart disease, treating Insomnia and other nervous disorders and many more. Ayurveda, the traditional Indian Herbal medicinal system, suggests bottle gourd juice once daily early in the morning helps treating graying hair, stomach acidity, digestive disorders and ulcers. During summer, consume this Bottle Gourd Juice to cool yourself from inside.
Today, I'll share a very simple lauki/lau recipe from bengali cuisine, which is called "Lau Ghonto"
Another, from the same bottle gourd peel, "Lau er Khosa Charchari". One bottle gourd, two recipe. Bottle gourd's peel is equally delicious and nutritious. So to consume the nutrition form the peel, try this dish, you'll be amazed. 

 Ghonto, is a cooking style in Bengali cuisine, where vegetables (cabbage, gourd, radish etc.) are chopped or grated very finely and cooked with a tempering(like, jeera/ panch phoron) and very few ground spices. Non-vegetarian ghontos are also made, where fish or fish head are added with vegetables. The famous Murighonto is made with fish head and cooked rice. 

You Need :
Lau/lauki : 1 ( medium/big)
Dry red chilli : 1
Bay Leaf : 1, optional
Cumin seeds/jeera : 2 tsp.
Turmeric powder : 2 tsp.
Green chilli : 1 or 2(chopped)
Salt to taste
Sugar : a pinch
Oil : 2 tblsp.
Fresh coriander leaves for garnishing

How To :
  • Peel the whole gourd. Don't throw away the peels. In Bengali cuisine, we have many delectable dishes made from it, like crispy fries(lau-er khosa bhaja) or charchari from it.
  • For cutting the vegetable very fine, first cut the gourds in round rings. Take 3 or 4 rings at a time and  chop them as finely as you can. Continue with the other rings. 
  • Heat oil in a pan, temper with broken dry red chilli, bay leaf and cumin seeds. When chilli turns dark and seeds crackle, throw chopped up gourds. Stir for a while, water will come out. Wait for water to dry up. When water evaporates, add salt, turmeric and green chillies. Mix well, stirring for few minutes.
  • Add very little water and in medium flame let it cook. Gourds cook very fast. Check the seasoning. When all the water evaporates and gourds are quite soft and mushy, remove from heat. Throw chopped fresh coriander leaves, mix well and serve with hot steamed rice.

Lau-er khosa Charchari :::

It's a great dish, made from peels of bottle gourds and pumpkin. This dish, I've tried from Sharmistha's blog Cook-a-doodle-doo. I had no idea of this dish , until She shared her mother's recipe. Instead of throwing all the highly nutritive peels of gourd, we can dish out a great simple relish. To make any dish with peels, do not peel but cut with little flesh on with a sharp knife. I recommend all to try this dish who loves bottle gourd. 

You Need :
Bottle Gourd Skin : chopped, skin of a large bottle gourd
Pumpkin : 1 small bowl, chopped lengthwise & thinly
Whole dry red chilli : 1, broken in half
Kalojeera/Kalonji : 1 tsp.
Green Chillies : 2-3, as per taste
Turmeric powder : 1 tsp.
Mustard paste : 2 tsp.
Grated Coconut : 2-3 tbsp.
Coriander leaves : finely chopped
Oil : 1 tbsp.

How To :
  • Finely chop the skin of bottle gourd. Steam the chopped skin after adding a pinch of salt. Drain the water and keep aside.
  • In a wok, pour oil and temper with Kalo jeera/kalonji and whole dry red chilli. Add the sliced pumpkin, saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the steamed bottle gourd peel. Add salt, sugar and turmeric powder.
  • Add 1/2 cup of water and cook on medium flame for around 7-10 minutes or till the veggies are done. Add the mustard paste and grated coconut. Mix well.
  • Lastly, add fresh coriander leaves and remove from heat. Serve with dal and plain rice. 

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