Lauki Yakhni/ Bottlegourd Stew

I have started loving the flavor of fennel seeds and the aroma they impart to any dish from the time I attempted Bhasbhatta (a variety rice from State of Kashmir). While reading through other recipes from this state, I came across yet another dish "Lauki Yakhni" which had these seeds in its recipe. According to Kaushi Bhatia, the author of the book "Favourite dishes of India", incorporation of curd in this yakhni dish works wonder and the dish subtly spiced with fennel and dry ginger powder tastes so delicious that the taste lingers. While reading the description of the dish itself, my senses got stirred. I remembered the presence of lauki/bottle gourd in the fridge and rushed to kitchen to try it right away. (Have adapted the recipe from the book as per the ingredients availability hence it may not be the authentic recipe for this dish).



Ingredients

12-15 bottlegourd/ lauki slices
1 cup yogurt
1/2 cup water [You can increase it by 1/4 cup more if you prefer little thin gravy]
1 tsp cumin seeds
1" stick cinnamon 
4-5 cloves
1 green cardamom
1 black cardamom
1 green chili slit vertically
1/4 tsp hing
1 tsp fennel powder
1/2  - 1 tsp dry ginger powder
Mint leaves or chopped coriander leaves for garnish
2 tsp oil + extra for frying the bottle gourd pieces. [I usually use ghee if the dish incorporates curd in it]
[Original recipe in the book calls for 1 tsp coriander powder which I excluded]

Method:

Wash and peel the bottle gourd. Slice into 1/2 " thick round pieces. You can cut the bigger round pieces into 2 pieces each, through the centre. Heat ghee in pan and shallow fry them till they become lightly browned and soft. Drain them on tissue paper and keep aside.

Heat 2 tsp of ghee in the same pan. Add cumin seeds, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. Saute them till they turn aromatic. Add slit green chili and fry it for 30 secs. Now add 1/2 cup water, fennel powder, dry ginger powder and asafoetida. Cook it for a minute. Next add fried bottle gourd slices. Whisk the yogurt and slowly add it to the pan. Cover the pan and cook on low flame for 5 minutes taking care that the yogurt does not curdle. Switch off the flame. Garnish it with mint leaves [used coriander leaves in absence of mint leaves]. Serve this dish with steamed rice, rotis or Pulao. I have served it with Zafrani Pulao as seen in the below pic.



Happy Cooking !

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