This vegetable is a bit like Plain Jane. One of those vegetables that reduces quite a bit as it cooks, it doesn’t have a taste all its own and eaters often pause to wonder what it is for a second before confirming that the vegetable in their stew is bottlegourd and not white pumpkin or chow chow (chayote/ “Benguluru vankaya”) or a similar vegetable that looks and tastes quite similar when cooked. Of late, I’ve come across people who swear it’s a good weight loss aid – grate it, puree it, season with a little salt and drink it in the morning. It’s also used to make halwa and payasam.
In Andhra homes, it’s often put into pappucharu (stewed lentils), pulusu (tamarind-based stew), cooked with a little milk, or stir-fried. Some homes even put a sprinkling of sesame powder on it. I rarely make the first few dishes, and my stir-fry always looks limp and forlon in the pan, and turns out less than tasty – the only reason I eat it is because I don’t want to waste it. And it’s a relatively calorie-less way of filling up. But this recipe I found in a Telugu cookbook made this vegetable quite interesting, and I would really try it again.
Bottlegourd/sorakaya/doodhi, peeled, diced, then sliced fine: 2 cups
Gram flour/Chickpea flour/Senagapindi/Besan: 3 tbsp
Green chillies: 2, chopped
Mustard seed: 1 tsp
Hulled, split black gram: 1-2 tsp
Cumin seed/jeera: 1 tsp
Red Chillies: 1-2, broken into bits
Salt: to taste
Turmeric: ½ tsp
Oil: 2 tsp
Heat oil in a pan. Pop the mustard, add black gram and cumin. Then add the red chillies.
Now add the vegetable, salt, turmeric and green chillies.
Turn heat down to simmer, cover and cook till the vegetable is done – till it’s transparent. It shouldn’t go squishy, though. You can sprinkle a little water before covering the pan to hasten the process.
Now remove the cover, increase the heat just a bit, and add the flour. Mix it really well. Remove from fire.
As they say in the Telugu cookery shows on TV, your sorakaya senagapindi is ruddyyy!
See more gourds here
Weekend Herb Blogging Gram flour/Besan/Senagapindi Bottlegourd/sorakaya