Lauki Choley

(Bottle Gourd with Chickpeas cooked in creamy Onion Tomato Gravy)

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Prep Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 30-45 mins

Serves: 4-5

1 medium Bottle Gourd/Sorekai/Lauki/Dudhi, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
¾ cup Chickpeas, soaked in water overnight and cooked or 1 can Chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3 large juicy Tomatoes or 1 canned Tomato, pureed
1 tsp ginger-Garlic Paste
¼-½ tbsp Channa Masala/Garam Masala
1 tsp Kitchen King Masala (Optional)
1 tsp Kashmiri Chilli Powder (Optional, adjust acc to taste)
½ tsp Turmeric Powder
¼ tsp Amchur/Dry Mango Powder or 1 tsp Lime Juice (Adjust acc to taste)
1-2 tsp Sugar/Jaggery (Optional but recommended)
1 tbsp Kasuri Methi/Dried Fenugreek Leaves (Optional but recommend)
1 tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds
¼ tsp Hing/Asafoetida
1 tbsp Oil
Salt to taste

For Onion Paste:
1 large Onion
½ inch Cinnamon Stick
2 Cloves
2 Green Cardamoms
½ tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds
Grind onion, cinnamon stick, cardamom, cloves and cumin seeds to smooth paste without adding any water and keep it aside till needed.
Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds and hing. When it starts to sizzle and change to light brownish colour, add ground onion paste. Keep stirring the paste till it turns light golden brown and looses its moisture. Make sure that the paste is cooked well or else you will end up with bitter tasting curry.
Add kasuri methi and ginger-garlic paste and stir well. Cook this for a minute or two till raw smell of the paste disappears. Then add tomato puree and mix well. Mix in channa masala/garam masala, kitchen king masala, turmeric and red chilli powder. Cook it for a minute or two for all the flavours to blend well.
Now add about ¾-1 cup of water, sugar and salt to taste and bring it to gentle boil. Mix in bottle gourd pieces and cover the pan. Let it cook on medium flame for about 5-8 mins.
Mix in cooked chick peas and amchur powder. Add little more water if needed and cover and cook for another 5-8 minutes till the bottle gourd is cooked through and all the flavours blend well.
Mix in finely chopped coriander leaves just before serving. Serve this delicious, creamy Lauki-Chole with any Indian flat breads or flavoured breads and enjoy.

Add one medium potato that is cooked and roughly mashed to the gravy which will not only thicken the gravy but also enhances its taste.
Replace Bottle Gourd with Ridge Gourd or Potatoes or skip the vegetables and just use chickpeas for different flavours.
Slow cooking of any lentils or legumes gives a wonder flavour and taste to any curry. But since we are using bottle gourd in this recipe, too much of cooking will result in over cooked bottle gourds and that is exactly what we want to avoid.