Lauki! Eww.. who eats that?
That’s the phrase I have heard countless times in my life. Not many people like this humble vegetable which is known by various names as Dudhi, lauki, ghiya, opo squash, bottle guard or vine guard. It has got a bad (really?) reputation of only being consumed when ill. Since it is extremely light on digestive system and helps keeping the heat away from the stomach.
What I don’t understand is how and why can we not reap these benefits of bottle guard in everyday life. Apart from the above health benefits, it also does some amazing job on your body as listed below:
Aids digestion: People suffering from constipation should eat bottle gourd as it is high in fibre and helps clear the food stuck in your colon. Additionally, juice made out of bottle gourd also helps in the treatment of acidity as it is alkaline in nature
Great for weight loss: Bottle gourd is one of the best foods you can have if you want to lose weight as it is 96% water, and a 100g serving contains as little as 12 calories. The high fibre content will take care of your hunger, and keep you feeling full.
Helps treat urinary disorders: Bottle gourd has a cooling effect on your body, and a glass of bottle gourd juice is a great diuretic that can be used to treat burning sensation while passing urine. This burning sensation is caused due to high levels of acid in the urine, which can be countered by the alkaline nature of bottle gourd juice.
Refreshes you during summers: Just like cucumber, bottle gourd too has a high amount of water which keeps you hydrated during summers. Drinking a glass of its juice will ensure that you do not face loss of sodium, fatigue or extreme thirst while you are out in the sun. This makes it great for people whose jobs require them to travel in daylight.
Prevents heart disease: Unhealthy lifestyles are leading to several cases of heart disease. Bottle gourd has zero cholesterol and is rich in vitamins like vitamin C and antioxidants making it good for your heart
Reduces stress: Bottle gourd has a high water content has a cooling effect on your body which makes you feel better the very moment you take it. It also has diuretic and sedative properties which makes your body feel better internally, and keeps stress at bay.
Now that we have gone through the health benefits of this wonder veggie, may I tempt you with this new recipe of today? It’s a simple dish, with super simple ingredients. I often make it for myself when S has ordered a take away for himself or I already have had a rather large lunch. It brings me back to my memories of adolescence when I used to eat it almost every day for good health and skin.
I could list the ingredients for this one on my left hand, which is very uncommon for the Indian cooking. The list is kept short purposely for this dish, so the mild sweetness of dudhi blends with the sharpness of curry leaves beautifully. Cumin seeds and green chilies provide that much needed punch and ghee keeps the satvik feeling alive. That’s it. You don’t need many spices to get the best flavours out of this simple dish.
Lets check this out quickly, so you could try and squeeze some more goodness into your meal next time
What you need?
- A 300-350 gms Dudhi/ lauki/ ghiya
- 1 tsp ghee
- ½ tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
- A sprig of curry leaves (kadi patta)
- 2-3 green chilies
- Fresh coriander leaves for garnish
- Salt to taste
- ½ cup water
- 1 tsp of black pepper powder (optional)
How to make?
Peel and chop lauki into small cubes and keep aside, covered.
In a pressure cooker (see notes if cooking in a pan), heat the ghee and throw the cumin seeds in. when they sizzle, add in green chilies and fry for just half a minute
Add everything else on the list, give a stir, and cook on pressure till 3 whistles. Once the pressure is off, open the cooker, garnish the curry with cilantro and serve hot.
Accompaniments: Plain roti, paratha or rice + fresh yogurt + pickle
** If you are using a pan, cook the curry for about 50-60 minutes with 1 ½ cup of water. Keep stirring in between and mash the pieces a bit to make it cook faster.
If you want to make a vegan dish, replace the Ghee with coconut oil or any other mild or neutral oil.
Chose a fresh piece of lauki or else you would get a lot of seeds in the dish which would ruin the taste.
More everyday simple meals which are easy to digest:
Alu matar– Potatoes w/ green peas cooked with pureed tomatoes
Alu tamatar – Jain style potatoes w/ tomatoes and asafoetida (hing)
Bhindi alu– Okra cooked w/ potatoes