A bottle gourd at first glance is not the most inspiring vegetable. Nondescript in appearance, it does not quite elicit excitement at the dinner table as maybe an eggplant or a lady’s finger dish would. However, an exotic preparation from the northern Indian reaches will have you looking at the humble lauki in different light. Called Al Yakhni or Kashmiri lauki or even yoghurt gourd by some, it is simply the most flavourful form of bottle gourd you will have likely eaten. Even the naysayers became converts after partaking of this delicacy.
- Canola oil – 2 tbsp
- Bottle gourd – 1; small in size
- Black cardamom – 2 crushed coarsely
- Cinnamon sticks – 1-2 small pcs; crushed coarsely
- Fennel seeds – 1/2 tsp; ground coarsely
- Bitter cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
- Ginger – 1/2 tsp; grated
- Pepper – 1/2 tsp
- Yoghurt – 4-5 tbsp
- Water – 1/2 cup
- Salt to taste
- Peel the bottle gourd and cut into thick round slices.
- Fry these slices on a low flame in a pan with 1/2 table spoon of canola oil. Keep aside.
- In another pan, heat 1.5 table spoon of canola oil.
- Add bitter cumin seeds, crushed cardamom and cinnamon sticks and let them splatter.
- Lower the flame and slowly add 1/2 glass water.
- Add the fried gourd slices, fennel seeds, black pepper, salt, ginger paste or powder and allow it come to a boil.
- Lower the flame, add the curd and cook until the consistency is thick.
Give it brief standing time and your Al Yakhni creation is ready to be feasted on. Serve piping hot with parathas or pulav and watch for surprised reactions. We’d love to hear of your Al Yakhni preparation experience.