It is very hot and humid in Kolkata now a days so I’m eating real simple these days, simple food not laced with much oil and spices. During this season amongst summer veggies like Lau (Bottle Gourd), Potol (Pointed Gourd), Jhinge (Ridge Gourd), Kancha Aam (Green Mangoes) acquires the centre stage. In most Bengali homes in the eastern part of India where summer is hot and humid people prefer to eat these vegetables on their daily meals.
The tender soothing green skin of ‘Lau’ not only gives comfort to our eyes in harsh summer days but gives comfort to our stomach too. Because of its high water content has a cooling effect and so is one of the preferred veggies in the summer months. According to Ayurveda, the cooked bottle gourd is cooling, diuretic, sedative and antibilious (corrects secretion of bile). It gives a feeling of relaxation after eating it. It is rich in essential minerals and fibre.
Bottle gourd is a vine grown for its fruit, which can either be consumed young as a vegetable, or mature, dried, and used as pots, utensils. I will be posting some recipes using bottle gourd like ‘Dudh Lau’, ‘Lau dea Bhaja Moonger Dal’ and ‘Lau Shukto’, which are very very easy and suitable recipe for summer! Here is the recipe of famous Bengali dish ‘Lau Chingri’ Or ‘Bottle Gourd with Shrimp’ recipe.
- 4 cups Lau/ Bottle Gourd – (Thinly sliced)
- 12 – 15 pcs Shrimp
- ½ tsp Turmeric Powder
- ½ tsp Cumin Seeds
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 3 Green Cardamom
- 2” Cinnamon Stick
- 3 Clove
- 2 Green Chillies
- 1 (Small – Roughly Chopped) Tomato
- ½ cup Onion – (Finely Chopped)
- 1 tsp Ginger Paste
- ½ tsp Garlic Paste
- ½ tsp Cumin Powder
- ½ tsp Coriander Powder
- ½ tsp Red Chillie Powder
- 1 (Small-Chopped) Tomato
- 2 Tbsps Mustard Oil
- 1 tsp Sugar
- 1 tsp Ghee
- Coriander Leaves – For garnishing
- to taste Salt – According
- Peel the bottle gourd and chop it finely.
- Wash the shrimp and mix with a little turmeric and salt and let it marinade for 30 minutes. Fry them to a light yellow and remove and keep aside.
- Heat Oil in a Kadhai/Frying Pan and lightly fry the shrimps and take them out and put in a bowl.
- In the same oil add bay leaf, green chili, cumin seeds, cardamom, cinnamon, clove and fry for a while.
- Now add the chopped onion. Fry till it becomes translucent.
- Add ginger paste, garlic paste and chopped tomatoes. Sauté till the tomatoes are soft and mushy with no raw smell.
- Add the chopped bottle gourd and sauté for few minutes. You will notice that bottle gourd will start releasing water and you need not add water for cooking.
- Add all the dry masalas. Adjust salt. Mix very well. Cover it with a lid and simmer the stove.
- After 15-20 minutes open the lid and check if the bottle gourd is cooked or not. If it is cooked add fried shrimps & sugar and higher the flame and stir fry it adding 1 tsp of ghee.
- If you wish you can add chopped coriander and more garam masala powder according to your taste.
- When all the juice which came out from bottle gourd is evaporated off the stove and serve the ‘Lau Chingri’ with steamed rice.
~ Bottle gourd releases a lot of water so you need not to add water to cook bottle gourd.
~ While adding salt keep in mind that after cooking bottle gourd reduces to half of it’s original quantity so add salt accordingly.