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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Lau Shukto (Bottle Gourd with Lentil Dumplings)

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Shukto is a generic name for vegetable mish-mash. It’s a bitter food which is served as the first course. Old timers believed that shukto should be eaten first so that it cleans up germs in the system.

I generally make lau (bottle gourd) in summer like it is generally made back home. I made this some time back and it somehow stayed forgotten in my blog drafts. I thought I’d post this out before it really starts snowing around here :)

Ingredients

  1. 1 bottle gourd finely chopped
  2. 1 bitter gourd (Karela) thinly sliced
  3. 1/2 cup yellow split pea(Motor Dal) soaked in water for 3-4 hrs.
  4. 1 tsp. grated ginger
  5. 1 tsp. poppy seed and mustard paste
  6. Dry roast and grind 1/2 tsp. fenugreek seed and 1/2 tsp. radhuni (Optional)
  7. 1/2 cup milk
  8. Salt
  9. Sugar
  10. Oil
  11. 1tsp. clarified butter (Ghee)
  12. For tempering
    1. 2 bay leaves
    2. 1/2 tsp. mustard seed
    3. 1/2 tsp. fenugreek seed

Procedure

Drain the soaked dal and grind it into a thick paste with little water. Add salt to it and mix well. Now make small dumplings out of it. Heat oil in a pan and gently slide the dumplings into the oil. Fry on medium heat till both sides turn golden brown. Remove and drain it on a paper towel.

Fry thin slices of karela till they become crispy. Remove and keep them handy. Discard the oil if it turns black.

Heat 2 tsp. oil in a pan and temper it with bay leaf, mustard and fenugreek seeds. Let it sizzle. Add grated ginger to it and sauté for a while. Add chopped bottle gourd  and sprinkle salt over it. Since the quantity of the final product will be reduced to its half, be cautious with the amount of salt you are adding. Give it a nice mix and cook it covered till the bottle gourd becomes soft. Now add sugar to it.

Stir the poppy seed and mustard paste in half cup of milk and pour it over. Throw the fried dumplings and karela slices in. Mix everything well and allow it to simmer on low heat for another 2-3 minutes.

Add a dollop of ghee and sprinkle the dry roasted spice powder over it. Turn off the heat and keep it covered to retain the flavor of ghee and spices. This dish should neither be to dry nor too runny.

Enjoy with hot steaming rice.

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