A blog about cooking and food, and how to make it taste good and be healthy. The dishes are almost all gluten/dairy free, and many are vegetarian. The focus is on techniques and ingredients over recipes - this is about everyday cooking, and that means making it work with whats on hand!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Lauki Kofta

Lauki kofta is a fairly uncommon in the US, but it is a delicious, savory vegetarian dish. It is similar to meatballs in gravy, but without the meat. Kofta are generally ground meat kebabs, and the name has also been applied to this combination of besan (chickpea flour) and lauki . The English name is for lauki is "bottlegourd", but not really since no one will know what you're talking about. Its a green squash that is somewhere between a cucumber and a zucchini, but a lot bigger. (I forgot to take a picture of a whole one - you can google for one).

The first thing to do is peel the lauki and shred it with a grater. Then squeeze out the liquid, saving it for the gravy.
Mix the shredded lauki with besan, minced onion, ginger garlic paste, salt, ground cumin, and garam masala. The amount of besan will depend on the amount and wetness of the lauki. You want to be able to handle and shape the resulting mixture.
Shape the mix into balls a bit smaller than golf balls and fry them for 3-5 minutes. One medium sized lauki made 10 koftas, even though the original lauki was much larger than the koftas put together.
The gravy is a fairly standard tomato-y masala with some tamarind added. Start with frying a diced onion in plenty of oil, adding ginger garlic paste and curry leaves after a few minutes. When the onions are soft, add tumeric, garam masala, ground cumin, ground corriander, garam masala and salt, and fry into a paste. Add the tomatoes, reserved lauki liquid, and a small amount of tamarind concentrate (or your preferred tamarind product) and cook until the tomatoes have turned into sauce.
Add in the koftas, and you're done. This is a fairly labor intensive dish, but the end result is worth it! The koftas should have a soft, chewy texture with a fried skin on the outside, and the gravy should be a wonderful melange of aromatic flavors.

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