This sautéed (calabash) bottle gourd recipe is my definition of fuss-free yet delicious food! I enjoy eating this dish on days when I want to eat something low-carb and light (like this green bean curry).
Bottle gourd is known by different names in different languages across India. Known as calabash in many English-speaking parts of the world, this humble vegetable is known as anapakaya in Telugu, lauki in Hindi, and sorakaya in Tamil.
Indian cooking has an extensive repertoire of recipes with this humble vegetable and is added to curries, stews, and stir fry. In North India preparations such as lauki ki sabji, lauki ka halwa, and lauki ke kofte are household favorites. In other parts of the country, sorakaya curry, and bottle gourd kootu are lunchtime regulars.
Ingredients for bottle gourd recipe
This recipe requires just a few simple ingredients and is ready in under 20 minutes. Honestly, recipes cannot get easier than this and be delicious and healthy!
See the recipe card for quantities.
Bottle Gourd: Available, most commonly, in two shapes - long or round. When selecting gourds look for ones that are tender, firm, and with pale green skin. The seeds in such gourds are soft (much like those in courgettes or cucumber) and edible.
Ginger: I use fresh root ginger, with its skin (more fiber!)
Spices: These spices add their goodness and impart flavor to this dish.
- Cumin seeds - We all know this one, don't we?!
- Mustard seeds - I use the black/brown variety. If you like it milder, use the yellow variety.
- White Lentils (urad dal in Hindi) - These lentils add a lovely, nutty flavor to the dish.
- Asafetida - powdered asafetida that is most commonly found in shops has gluten (plain flour) in it. There are some brands that sell gluten-free asafetida - look for those.
- Curry Leaves - You may use fresh leaves (available in most Indian greengrocers) or dried (available in most health and wellness stores).
- Turmeric - I use just a pinch of turmeric in this recipe - to bring that hint of yellow to the dish.
Making this easy recipe
Making this recipe is as easy as 1-2-3!
STEP 1: Let us start by prepping the bottle gourd. Peel and chop the gourd into bite-sized pieces.
STEP 2: In a saucepan, bring 200 ml of water to a boil. Add the salt and turmeric. Now add the chopped gourd. Cover and cook till cooked soft, but not mushy.
This step should take about 5-7 minutes.
When the gourd is cooked, drain the water and keep it aside.
Tip: Do not discard the water! Add it to your soup, or just drink it up - it tastes delicious!
STEP 3: Now let us prepare the tempering.
In Indian cooking, tempering is the classic way of adding flavor to the dish and can be either added to the dish at the beginning of the cooking process or at the end. In this recipe, we will add the tempering at the beginning.
Heat oil in a pan on medium-high heat. Add the white lentils. When the lentils start turning brown, add cumin and mustard seeds.
When the mustard begins to splutter, add asafetida and curry leaves. Now add in the cooked, drained bottle gourd. Mix gently so that the spices coat the vegetable.
Fry for a minute or two. Turn off the heat. Add the grated/minced ginger. Mix and serve.
Easy, right?! Now enjoy it as a meal on its own or have it as a side dish.
Tips, notes, and substitutions
The gourd: Choose ones that are tender, firm, and with pale green skin. The seeds in such gourds are soft (much like those in courgettes or cucumber) and edible.
Chopping: Chop the calabash into bite-sized pieces. Cook them soft, but not mushy. The texture of this dish is an important aspect of this dish.
Don't have bottle gourd? Use ridge gourd, chayote squash, or zucchini instead.
Asafetida - Powdered asafetida which is most commonly found in shops has gluten (plain flour) in it. There are some brands that make it gluten-free - look for those.
Ginger: You will note that I have added the grated ginger towards end of the cooking. Adding ginger after most of the cooking is finished will enhance the aroma and gives the dish a sharp, fresh flavor.
Why I love this recipe and you will too!
This particular dish has a special place in my heart for more reasons than one:
1) It is a family recipe that has been handed down over generations
2) it is so easy to make
3) the earthy aroma of ginger and the nuttiness of white lentils goes so well with the juicy mildness of the gourd...yum!
This simple, unassuming dish never fails to bring a smile to my face 🙂
Why your toddler will love this simple dish
As a child, I remember this dish being made on repeat. My mum tells me that as a baby, I used to love having this as finger food. Fast forward many years to me being a mum and making this on repeat for my girls!
Bottle gourd is one of those safe vegetables you can serve your child from 10 months old. You can add it to soup, or pasta sauce, and make pancakes with it. This particular recipe, with whole spices and ginger, is a good way of introducing textures and independent eating to your child from the age of 12 months.
These are the reasons why your toddler will love this recipe:
- The bite-sized pieces are easy to handle.
- The dish is mildly spiced.
- The gourd is soft cooked and yet there is enough texture to challenge your baby.
- The ginger, lentils, and other spices make this dish flavorful and good for the gut.
Frequently Asked Questions
BottleGourd belongs to the gourd family and is cultivated in warm climates worldwide. While the young fruits are used in cooking, the mature fruits are used to make a variety of things ranging from birdhouses to containers to musical instruments! Read more about bottle gourd.
Also known as Calabash, Long Melon, and White Flower Gourd.
In Hindi, it is called Lauki, Doodhi, or Ghiya.
Lauki is a much-loved vegetable and is made in many different ways across India. Lauki ki Sabji (bottle gourd curry) is perhaps the most loved gourd dish in North India.
Bottle gourd is a versatile vegetable. It is a healthy one too. Add it to soups, stews, and curries. You can make raita with bottle gourd and yogurt.
More vegetable recipes
If you have made this easy bottle gourd recipe, please take a moment to leave a comment and /or a rating below. This will make me super happy and motivate me to create more good content for you! xx Padma
Bottle Gourd Recipe| Lauki Ki Sabji [Vegan]
- 1 saucepan
- 1 sieve
- 1 frying pan
- 1 spatula
- 1 large bottle gourd (calabash) (750 grams, approximately)
- 1 cup water
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- 2 teaspoons neutral oil
- 1 teaspoon white lentils (urad dal)
- ½ teaspoon brown mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- ¼ teaspoon powdered asafetida
- 4-5 curry leaves (fresh or dried)
Add at the end
- 2 teaspoons fresh ginger (grated/ crushed/minced)
- Peel and chop the bottle gourd into equal sized pieces.Cut them into bite sized pieces
- Add the water to a saucepan and bring to boil. Add salt, turmeric and bottle gourd pieces. Cover and cook till the vegetable is cooked but not mushy. Drain the water and keep it aside. Do not discard the water! Add it to your soup, or just drink it up - it tastes delicious!1 large bottle gourd (calabash), ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon turmeric, 1 cup water
- Place a frying pan on medium high heat. Add oil. When the oil is hot, add the white lentils. Wait till they start turning brown. Add the cumin and mustard seeds. When the mustard begins to splutter, add the asafoetida and the curry leaves.2 teaspoons neutral oil, 1 teaspoon white lentils (urad dal), ½ teaspoon brown mustard seeds, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, ¼ teaspoon powdered asafetida, 4-5 curry leaves
- Now add in the bottle gourd. Mix gently so that the spices coat the vegetable. Fry for a minute or two. Turn off the heat and add ginger. Mix and serve.2 teaspoons fresh ginger
- You can use the long variety or the short, round variety of bottle gourd for this recipe. Buy the ones that are tender and firm. The seeds in the ones that are tender are small and soft (much like those in courgettes or cucumber) and are edible. In the not-so-tender calabashes, the seeds tend to be hard and difficult to chew. In that case, core out the seeds and discard them.
- This recipe can be made with courgettes and ridge gourd as well.