Lauki Kofta Recipe | Bottle Gourd in Tomato Gravy Recipe | Lauki ke Kofte Recipe

If there are days when you have a whole bottle gourd that you need to consume but you know chopping to make a curry (lauki ki sabzi) or adding to dal (lauki chana dal) is not going to finish it up, and when you don't feel like making a snack (lauki muthia) or dessert (lauki ki kheer) - then lauki ke kofte will come to your rescue.

Lauki ke kofte consists of two parts: fried balls made from grated bottle gourd mixed with spices, and a tomato based gravy mixed with spices.  It takes a little effort to make lauki kofta curry, but makes a delicious dish to serve to your guests.

Lauki Kofta Curry Recipe
Serves 4-6 people (considering 2-3 kofta balls each)

For Kofta:
1 bottle gourd
1 tsp green chili paste
¼ tsp turmeric powder
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup (+ some more) chickpea flour (besan)
Oil for frying

For Paste:

Few drops of oil
1 cup onion, chopped
2 cup tomato, chopped
1 tsp garlic paste (or 3-4 cloves of garlic)
1 tsp ginger paste (or 1 small piece of ginger)
1 tsp green chili paste (or 1-2 green chilies, or to taste)

For Curry:
1 Tbsp oil
½ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp red chili powder
2 tsp coriander-cumin powder
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
Pinch of sugar
¼ tsp garam masala (optional)
¼ cup cilantro, finely chopped

For Kofta:

1.  Peel the skin of bottle gourd, grate, mix in a few pinches of salt and leave aside for 10 minutes.

2.  The salt will help release more water out of the peeled bottle gourd.  Squeeze between your palms to strain as much water as you can.  It’s better to have drier grated bottle gourd than a watery one that would need way too much chickpea flour to hold it together.  Reserve the strained juice.

3.  In a bowl, mix the drained grated bottle gourd + green chili paste + turmeric powder + salt + chickpea flour until it all comes together like a ball.  For this, adjust and add more chickpea flour as required.  Divide in portions, form into balls.

4.  Heat oil in a frying pan and deep fry these kofta balls until golden-brown.  Transfer on absorbent paper for excess oil to drain and keep aside.

For Paste:
1.  In a cooking pan, add a few drops of oil and sauté the chopped onion*.  Let it cool down then grind along with tomato + garlic + ginger + green chilies to make a paste using a little of the reserved bottle gourd juice.
* When grinding raw onion and cooking along with other pastes many a times I have noticed the onion paste becoming green, smelling and tasting weird.  That’s why I prefer to sauté the onion until light brown then grind with other ingredients.

For Curry:
1.  In the same cooking pan, add the oil and let it heat up on medium heat.  When oil is hot (test by dropping a cumin seed in it), add the paste, cook for couple of minutes until light brown and thickens.
2.  Add turmeric powder + red chili powder + coriander-cumin powder + salt + sugar + garam masala (if using) + cilantro (some for garnish), mix well and let cook another couple of minutes.
3.  Taste and adjust the salt and spices, adjust the consistency of gravy by adding the strained, reserved bottle gourd juice or regular water.
4.  Immerse the fried kofta balls in the curry, let them soak in the flavors and soften up.  Transfer to serving bowl, garnish with cilantro, serve Lauki Kofta Curry hot with roti, naan, or rice.

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