Thursday, January 16, 2014

Bottle Gourd and Carrot Kofta Curry

If there is one thing I like about vegetables is that some of them are extremely versatile; they can be used across cuisines and courses. For instance, carrots can go into curries, dry sabzis and the all time favorite dessert, carrot halwa. Another such vegetable is the bottle gourd. This again can be cooked in myriad ways.
This is also a vegetable that many people don't prefer, or sometimes don't know how to incorporate into a meal. Here's an interesting way to include this gourd into your culinary repertoire.
Ingredients (Serves 2)
For Kofta
Grated bottle gourd – 1 cup (approx)
Grated carrot – ¼ cup (approx)
Salt – 1 tsp + more to taste
Chili powder to taste
Besan (gram flour) as required
Oil for deep frying
For Gravy
Tomato – 1 (large)
Chopped onion – ½ cup
Chopped red bell pepper – ½ cup (optional)
Garlic – 1 clove
Garam masala – 1 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
Chili powder to taste
Salt to taste
Coriander/cilantro for garnish
Add 1 tsp of salt to the grated vegetables and keep aside for 10 minutes. The salt will bring out all the water content in the bottle gourd. Squeeze out all the excess water and keep aside (this can be used in the gravy of the curry or to knead the dough for your chappathis). Add a little more salt and chili powder to the vegetables. Add the besan and incorporate well to form a sticky mixture. The bottle gourd will keep absorbing the besan, so add just enough to ensure that a ball made of the mixture will hold its shape.
Heat oil in a deep vessel. Once it is hot, deep fry the koftas and drain on a paper towel.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan and add the garlic. Sauté for a minute and add the chopped onion. Sauté until the onions are tender and add the chopped tomato and bell pepper (if using), turmeric powder, chili powder and salt. Cover and allow to simmer until tomatoes are cooked and mushy. Remove from the heat and blend into a smooth mixture.
Return to the pan and allow to simmer and thicken a little. Add the garam masala and turn off the heat. When you are ready to serve, place the koftas in a serving bowl and pour the hot gravy over it. Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve hot with chappathis or rice. Bon Appétit.
Note: A shortcut for the gravy – I used ¾ can of V8 low sodium vegetable juice, which has a tomato base. To that I added a blended mixture of cooked onions and red bell pepper and the remaining ingredients.

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