Easy Bottle Gourd Recipes
Bottle Gourd Halwa - A Tasty And Healthful Dessert
Bottle gourd is a simple vegetable, that has over 90% water, and very few calories. Also known as Calabash, or oposquash or long melon, it is a vine grown for its fruit. The round varieties are named as calabash gourds. It has been one of the first cultivated plants in the world. Found in almost every kitchen of an Indian household, it is believed to have been originated from Africa. It is laden with vitamins, such as thiamine, vitamin-C, and minerals zinc, iron, and magnesium. Also a good natural source of dietary fiber, every 100 gms of this vegetable provides only 12 calories of energy.
Bottle gourd is known to possess a multitude of health benefits, that include the following :
- It reduces inflammation in liver and kidneys, and helps improve their functions.
- Being high in dietary fiber, it helps ease constipation.
- Improves digestion.
- It prevents premature graying of hair.
- Mixed with sesame oil, bottle gourd helps cure insomnia.
- On regular intake, It reduces high blood pressure and heart diseases.
- Is a natural energizer, and reduces fatigue.
- Naturally treats hyperacidity and ulcers.
- Prevents tooth decay.
- Is a nerve tonic. According to a study published in the Journal of Pharmacognosy, research suggests that bottle gourd juice can improve Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
A word of caution : Bottle gourd that tastes bitter, contains toxins that cause severe damage to the digestive tract. So taste a small piece of the flesh before making a recipe or having it in the raw form. If it has a bitter or an unusual taste, then discard it.
Here are a few simple and low fat recipes prepared from bottle gourd :
1. Bottle Gourd Halwa - An Easy Dessert
This is a nutritious Indian dessert, that can satiate your taste buds, and has a wide array of health benefits. Made with bottle gourd, sugar, nuts, and whole milk, this sweet and creamy dessert can be prepared at home, within a few minutes.
Prep. Time : 10 minutes
Cook Time : 30 minutes
Ready in : 40 minutes
Yields : Serves two persons
- 1 large shredded bottle gourd
- 500 ml whole milk
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons crushed almonds
- 1 teaspoon cardamom powder
Method of preparation :
- Wash the bottle gourd under running water. Peel and grate it from all sides. Discard the center part, that has seeds.
- Put milk in a deep pan on a medium flame, and bring it to boil. Reduce the heat, add grated bottle gourd, and cook on a low flame, until almost all the milk has been absorbed. Stir occasionally in between, to prevent the shredded bottle gourd from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add sugar, and 1 tablespoon of crushed almonds. Stir continuously, and cook until the moisture gets evaporated, and the mixture turns thick. Remove from flame, add cardamom powder, and mix well.
- Transfer this halwa into a serving bowl, and garnish with more cardamom powder, and crushed almonds. It can be served as a dessert, a snack, or as an accompaniment with the main course dish.
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Bottle Gourd Kofta Curry
2. Bottle Gourd Kofta Curry
This recipe consists of bottle gourd koftas (deep fried, spiced dumplings) in a thick, creamy, and mildly spicy curry. You can even add a small amount (1/2 teaspoon) of Indian garam masala (a mix of various herbs and spices) to enhance its flavor. People allergic to peanuts, should avoid adding them to the curry, as peanut allergy might cause symptoms ranging from watery eyes to severe anaphylactic shock.
Bottle Gourd Kofta Curry - A Lunch Recipe
- 1 large bottle gourd, peeled and shredded
- 3 large tomatoes, chopped
- 2 medium sized onions, grated
- 4 tablespoons peanuts
- 4 tablespoons gramflour/cornflour
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 1 teaspoon ginger, grated
- 1 teaspoon garlic, grated
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon roasted cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon black pepper powder
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 2 fresh green chillies, chopped (optional)
- 2 cups water
- cooking oil
- freshly chopped cilantro
Bottle Gourd Koftas Can Be Had As A Snack, Or Made Into A Curry
To Prepare Bottle Gourd Koftas
Koftas or bottle gourd dumplings should be prepared before making the gravy, as the grated bottle gourd begins to turn dark on exposure to air, if not used immediately. Also, do not keep the kofta batter idle for long, as the bottle gourd releases water over time, and it will make the mixture soggy.
Method of Preparation :
- Squeeze the shredded bottle gourd to remove excess water. Place it in a flat plate, and add gramfour or cornflour, half of the grated onions, chopped green chillies, salt, roasted cumin powder, and pepper. Mix well. Grease your palms with cooking oil, and divide this mixture into 8 equal portions. Roll each portion into oblong or elliptical koftas.
- Heat oil in a frying pan. Gently slide 3-4 koftas one by one, in it. Stir occasionally, and fry on a medium flame, until golden brown. Take them out using a slotted spoon. Put them on kitchen absorbent paper, to remove excess oil.
A Mixture Of Nuts, Seeds, And Spices Adds A Special Flavor To Bottle Gourd Recipes
To make the curry
- Heat 1 tablespoon cooking oil in a pan. Put half of the grated onion in it, and fry on medium flame for 3-4 minutes, till they turn golden brown. Remove from flame, and allow it to cool.
- Soak the peanuts in half a cup of water for 6-8 hours, that they absorb water, and the reddish brown, thin, papery shell comes off easily. Drain the excess water, and blend these peanuts, along with sesame seeds, chopped tomatoes, fried onion, ginger, and garlic, to make a thick, smooth, and uniform paste.
- Again heat 1 tablespoon of cooking oil in the same pan. Put cumin seeds, cook for 7-10 seconds until they sizzle, and the thick tomato onion paste, and saute. Mix well, and cook for a minute. Add salt and the dry spices (coriander powder, pepper, and turmeric powder), other than roasted cumin powder, and continue to mix until the oil surfaces. Add 11/2 cups of water, stir, cover the lid, and allow it to sit on a low flame for another 10 minutes, for the curry to get thickened.
- Put the prepared koftas in the gravy, and cook for 5-6 minutes. Turn off the flame, and transfer the hot kofta curry to a serving bowl. Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro. Serve hot with steamed rice.
Bottle Gourd Raita
3. Bottle Gourd Raita
It is a good to taste, and nutritious lunch recipe, made from cooked bottle gourd and yogurt. It enhances the taste of food, and improves digestion.
Prep. Time : 1 hour 10 minutes
Cook Time : 5 minutes
Ready in : 1 hour 15 minutes
Yields : Serves four people
- 1 medium sized bottle gourd, shredded
- 500 ml homemade plain yogurt
- 1 teaspoon roasted cumin powder
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper powder
- 15-20 raisins
- 2 cups water
Method of Preparation :
- Place a water filled skillet to boil, on a high flame. Add the shredded bottle gourd, cover the lid, and cook on a low flame for 1-2 minutes. Collect the cooked bottle gourd in a sieve, and drain off the excess water.
- Pour ice cold water on the strained shreds of bottle gourd. This would make them crunchier, and protect the yogurt from turning sour, if hot, cooked bottle gourd is added to it.
- Whisk or churn the yogurt. Put the roasted cumin powder, pepper powder, and cooked bottle gourd in it. Mix these ingredients well in a large bowl with the help of a spoon. Transfer this mixture to a serving bowl. Put it inside the refrigerator to chill for an hour. Garnish with more cumin powder, chopped coriander leaves, and raisins. Serve with freshly cooked, hot food.