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 light and mild (like this sweet potato sauteed with spices).
Bottle gourd, also known as calabash in many English-speaking parts of the world, is known by different names across India - anapakaya in Telugu, lauki, ghiya or doodhi in Hindi, and sorakaya or sorakkai in Tamil.
What can be made from bottle gourd? Indian cooking has an extensive repertoire of recipes with this humble vegetable - curries, stews, stir fry, smoothies, juices, and even desserts!
In North India preparations such as lauki ki sabji, lauki kofta curry, and lauki chana dal are household favorites. In other parts of the country, sorakaya kootu, and bottle gourd curry are lunchtime regulars.
This bottle gourd recipe is free of
and is vegan.
This recipe requires just a few simple ingredients and is ready in under 20 minutes. Honestly, recipes cannot get easier than this and be so delicious and healthy!
See the recipe card for quantities.
Bottle gourd: Available, most commonly, in two shapes - long or round and with pale green or dark green (with white spots) skin.
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 - Black, brown, or yellow. The yellow ones are milder than the other two.
- White lentils (urad dal in Hindi) - These lentils add a lovely, nutty flavor to the dish.
- Asafetida - powdered.
- Curry leaves - You may use fresh leaves (available in most Indian grocery stores) 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 recipe is as easy as 1-2-3!
STEP 1: Let's do some prep work
- Peel and chop the gourd into bite-sized pieces.
- Grate, mince, or coarsely pound the ginger.
- Measure the rest of the ingredients and keep them ready.
STEP 2: In a saucepan, bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Add the salt, turmeric, and chopped gourd. Cover and cook till the vegetable is cooked soft, but not mushy.
This step should take 5-7 minutes.
Drain the water completely 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 traditional way of adding flavor to a dish and is done either at the beginning of the cooking process or added at the end after the dish is complete.
- 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 seeds begin to splutter, add asafetida and curry leaves.
To these tempered spices, add the cooked bottle gourd. Mix gently so that the spices coat the vegetable.
Fry for a minute or two. Turn off the heat. Add the ginger. Mix and serve.
Enjoy it as a meal on its own or have it as a side dish with your main meal.
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 zucchini and cucumber) and edible.
Chopping: Chop the calabash into bite-sized pieces. Cook them soft, but not mushy. Overcooked, mushy bottle gourd will ruin the texture 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.
Mum's top tip: You will note that I have added the grated ginger towards the 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 dish has a special place in my heart for more reasons than one:
1) It is a family favorite that has been handed down over generations - it will become your family favorite too 😊.
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 - add it to soup, pasta sauce, or make pancakes with it.
This 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
Bottle gourd is a delicious and versatile vegetable that can be used in making stews, curries, raita, smoothies, sabji, and juices. This vegetable is easy to cook and light on the tummy.
Also known as Calabash, Long Melon, and White Flower Gourd.
Gourds are similar to squashes. Treat them like you would a pumpkin and butternut squash, peel the skin, and discard the seeds if they are tough. Scoop out the fibrous parts and then chop the flesh into pieces.
More vegetable recipes
If you have made this easy bottle gourd recipe, please take a moment to leave a comment and a rating below. This will make me super happy and motivate me to create more good content for you! Engage with me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram 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.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only.
Note: The nutrition information is based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.