Sunday, October 21, 2007

Hitting the bottlegourd

For this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging hosted by Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook, it was a toss-up between potato raita and this dish, bottlegourd with chick pea flour. No other reason, except a very shallow one – looks. In fact, I’d slaved over the potato raita photo more than I did for this but just as we all come across people who don’t seem to do anything extra to earn all the good luck they attract, this photo was a winner in just a few takes! The colours were clear and striking, each and every mustard seed was well-defined, and in the debate for precedence, good looks took over the simplicity and familiarity of the potato which went into a raita.

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


  1. Slurp!! Nice entry sra. Looks delicious. Happy Dasara!:))

  2. yummy! i love sorrakai..will make this one

  3. I haven't eaten bottlegourd, and I'm not sure I would even recognize one, but this does look very tasty. I'd love to try it.

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  5. Sra, I love this combo,etu vachin sorakaya valla weight loss and less calories ani teliyadu.even though good looks always get the precedense,simplicity should also be respected,post the potato raita as well

  6. Sra, not just the photo, the dish is also quite a winner!! What a mouthwatering preparation yaar!

  7. Hmmm... I usually make the ubiquitous kootu (with ground coconut) with these tasteless-on-their-own veg, but I think I'll try this. I have a small doodhi quietly turning brown in my fridge. :)

  8. We call bottle gourd, squash. I've never cooked it this way. Will buy some next week when I go the market and try your dish.

  9. Adding chickpea flour to vegetables is a trick I learnt from Indira(of Mahanandi)...I'm sure it would make the bottle grourd taste much better too!

  10. Thanks for this post - I have never really known what to do with bottlegourd. Now I do! Next time I am in the Market, I will pick one up to try.


  11. Such a nice dish with sorakaya.......thanks SRA...this is very useful for me.....:-)

  12. Asha, thanks, what did you do for Dasara?
    Rajita, I like it too, when someone else makes it :) This one was different
    Kalyn, my modem died on me just as I was uploading the bottlegourd pic - whenever it gets ready, I will upload it. It's a kind of squash.
    Sreelu, tappakunda post chestanu - it's just that I got greedy, that's all!
    Musy, thanks, it certainly was!
    Shyam, yes, try this, it's quite meaty this way!
    Cynthia, yes, I wanted to mention that but computer problems took over my mind and the post.
    Nabeela, yes, it's a common practice, and makes them more substantial.
    Vegeyum, glad this post came in useful.
    Sirisha, I'm glad you found the recipe.

  13. that is a very different recipe! my MIL adds besan to bitter gourd too. it comes out very crisp!

  14. hey i like the combo of bottle gourd and chana and a must try...pic truely looks inviting...

  15. Never tried sorakai with chenagapindi b4.... this looks yum~

  16. A friend gave me a huge bottlegourd yesterday but since I have absolutely no time, delegated it to MIL :)
    Had a hectic but fun weekend and am dead tired now and loaded with work. Might not be around for the next few days. take care

  17. the only dish I generally make with this veggie is a pachadi , a simple one with yogurt and some grated coconut ofcourse :P this one is a neat idea...should try soon.


  18. wow!!!excellent entry .....Happy Dasara

  19. Sra, I've seen bottlegourd and I know I've had it while dining out. You sure dressed this "Plain Jane" up for a night on the town.

    Thanks for joining in WHB!

  20. I normally make kootu with bottlegourd .. my MIL adds besan to a few vegetables , but not for bottlegourd. the pic looks tempting.should try this sometime.

  21. Hi Sra, I've never eaten bottlegourd either, but this looks absolutely delicious.

    You've made it anything but 'plain Jane'!

  22. Sra,
    Nice dish! mostly cooks this gourd in some other way, will try yours method too..

  23. This looks delicious, thanks for sharing!

  24. Sharmi, would like to try that, tho' I'm not a fan of bittergourd.
    Rachna, besan addition is common but bottlegourd with it is new to me too!
    Padma, it is very tasty.
    Sandeepa, hope the pressure's eased up, do post those bottlegourd recipes.
    Mishmash, even I thought of finishing it off as pachadi first.
    Deepa, thanks.
    Susan, my pleasure.
    Prema, same here, never knew the bottlegourd-besan combo.
    Lucy, welcome. yes, this way it's not Plain Jane anymore.
    Seena, let me know if it worked for you
    Mandira, thanks.
    Virtual Chef, welcome. Thanks so much.

  25. Thanks for adding the photo of bottlegourd. I would have never imagined it looked like this.

  26. A weight loss aid, huh? I'm surprised somebody hasn't created a diet around it yet! Your recipe sounds absolutely delicious!

  27. oh, that looks SO good Sra! Simple ingredients are often best yes? That way we can spice them up as you did -- to make it special :)

  28. Kalyn, this is hardly bottle-like, actually. It even comes in a round, tear-drop shape.
    Susan, yes, like the grapefruit diet. However successful, I don't think I'd want to eat just one thing day in and day out.
    Linda, I know what you mean :)


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