Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Lau-er Tarkari – Simply simple -- Lauki/Bottle Gourd Curry
I've been irregular here... my posts stand witness. But my kitchen gives out every day the aroma of the different spices, spreading all around the house...the sensitive nostril can pick up what’s cooking there. It’s so hot and humid these days and how I want a cooling effect in my kitchen...why wipe the sweat from time to time with the loose end of my sari...
...cool cool kitchen, a weird thought creeps into my mind...
A typical Indian kitchen, shelves lined up with bottles...some full, some half-filled and even some empty ones waiting to be washed, dried and then filled up. Cooking utensils of different shapes and sizes...a must.
The sound of the morning whistle blowing...not from a train engine or even a child’s toy train... the pressure cooker cooking and singing or more correctly whistling as the dal...a common everyday dish for many Indian homes...boiling and cooking...waiting for the tardka...the very next step that follows soon.
... the whoosh and cha(n)k-choo(n)k (the ‘n’ gives the nasal note) noise (a Bengali expression) coming when cooking is on. Lots of oil and ghee and masala going into cooking and at the end the kitchen sink is filled with sticky utensils to be rubbed and scrubbed and washed clean for the next use.
...and who has to do all this...dependence, on someone who comes to help...
Back to my kitchen for the Lau Tarkari. Very simple and no puzzle to solve.
To serve this dish for 4 people you need to take Lau/Lauki not one but two medium ones. Wash it before peeling off the skin. Never wash the lau/lauki after cutting into pieces. Cut the lau/lauki into small pieces. Don’t judge the quantity before cooking for once the cooking is over the quantity reduces to a little more than half of what it was in its uncooked form.
Place a kadhai/wok or any cooking vessel on heat. Sprinkle about 1 ½ tbsp of cooking oil in it.
When the smoke starts coming up add 2 green chillies slit in the middle. To this add 1 ½ tsp of kalo jeera/kalonji/nigella seeds.
After you hear that little noise that it gives out, add the lau/lauki pieces to it. Stir and cover and again stir and cover, repeat this, and cook for 3-4 minutes on high flame.
Now set the stove on medium flame and add haldi powder about ½ tsp, very small quantity of red chilli powder, ¼ tsp, salt and sugar to taste, sugar can be optional but a little quantity will balance the taste.
Stir, cover and now cook on low flame. The lau will release water which will help in the cooking.
After cooking on low heat for 10-12 minutes, cook on high flame. Open the cover and stir-cook for another 5-7 minutes till the water dries up completely.
Serve with hot plain rice and dal. I like it with gorom (hot) parathas and Luchi/Puris.
This is a simple and perfect niramish curry.
Note: You can pressure cook the lau/lauki after adding all the ingredients. 3-4 whistles and after opening the lid, cook till the curry is dry, make sure there is no water remaining. Serve it hot.