Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Lau er khosha bhala.......Fried bottle gourd peels.

I credit myself with knowing how to buy a "kochi lau"(a bottle gourd which does not have too many seeds).It's something I learnt from my mother.When you are buying bottle gourd you need to choose the shape that is a uniform longish shape.The ones with the little round at the bottom will have more seed.Now poke the bottom end  of your selected gourd with the nail tip of your index finger.If it slides smoothly through the skin,it's good to buy.If the skin is hard your nail tip will not slide smoothly....and that is a gourd which will have more seeds.When my mother and I used to go to the vegetable market,I would try this technique on multiple gourds and then tell my mother which one I thought was the "kochi"est.She would check and give her opinion.It didn't take a long time to get her approval on my selection..... consistently!!!Once you are able to understand the feel that you get when your nail tip slides into a "kochi" bottle gourd's skin.......you will be successful in picking up a fresh gourd every time.After so much of effort to pick up a "kochi" lau....who would like to waste the beautiful peel?..........specially when it tastes so good on it's own.
This post is on how to cut the gourd peels and fry it for a scrumptious side dish to go with plain rice.

You need to peel the gourd a little thick .....so you cannot use a peeler.Use a knife and peel about 1/8th of an inch(approx) skins.I cut the gourd into rounds about 2-3 inches in width and then peel the skin.I can manage it better that ways.Once all the peeling is done,take the peels and run the sharp tip of your knife to create match stick size pieces.

For frying the peels,
Oil-1 tablespoon
Green chili/Dried Red chili-2
Nigella seeds-1 teaspoon
Turmeric-1/2 teaspoon
Salt-to taste

In a pan heat the oil,put in the nigella seeds and the chilies.Allow the nigella seeds to start crackling.Now add all the chopped peels.Stir for sometime and then add the turmeric.Now put the flame on low and cover the pan.It will take 8-10 min for the peels to become soft.Once soft ,take the cover out ,add salt to taste and give it a few more stirs.The more you stir and fry,the peels will become more crispy and ahem tasty.....:-) but you will be missing out on the nutrients.I serve the" lauer khosha bhaja" not too crispy...it retains some moisture in it to mix up with plain rice and eat.The very crispy bhaja I will probably serve with daal.

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