LAUKI KOFTAS



Lauki koftas is a delicious and a popular Indian curry made with bottle gourd dumplings (koftas) and simmered in onion and tomato gravy. Its originally from the times of Mughals and travelled through Arabic countries like Iran and Afghanistan. Nizam's or Mughals would generally make koftas with meat but in India there are many vegetarian versions of kofta curries. Lauki kofta curry happened to be one of those vegetarian versions of kofta curries which is relished by most.


It's a vegan and gluten-free curry easily suitable to people with such allergens. It can be served with roti, naan, paranthas or rice.



PREP TIME: 20 minutes

COOK TIME: 30 minutes

SERVES: 6-8



INGREDIENTS


For Koftas

  • 1 medium Lauki (bottle gourd), peeled and grated, 4 cups roughly

  • 1 green chilli, chopped

  • 2 tbsp coriander, chopped

  • 1 tsp ginger chopped, finely

  • 3/4 cup besan or chana atta (I used half and half both)

  • 1 tsp ajwain (carom seeds)

  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste

  • 1/4 tsp red chilli powder

  • 1 tsp coriander powder

  • Oil for frying

For Gravy

  • 2 red onions, roughly cut into chunks

  • 1 large beef tomato

  • 1” piece ginger, roughly cut

  • 2-3 fat cloves garlic

  • 1 1/2 tbsp tomato paste

  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds

  • 4 tbsp oil

  • 1 tbsp coriander powder

  • 1 tsp salt or to tastebuds

  • 1 tsp turmeric powder

  • 1/4 tsp garam masala

  • 1/4 tsp red chilli powder

  • 1 tsp sugar

  • 4-5 cups water

  • Freshly chopped coriander leaves for garnishing

  • 1 tsp fresh cream for garnishing


METHOD

For Koftas:

  1. Place grated Lauki in Muslin cloth and squeeze all water. Reserve the water for gravy.

  2. Add all the ingredients and mix them all together. Shape them into small balls.

  3. Heat oil in wok and gently drop half the balls in oil and deep fry the koftas on medium high heat until golden brown.

  4. Drain on absorbent paper.

For Gravy:

  1. In a small blender, coarsely blend onion, ginger and garlic. Don’t make a fine paste.

  2. Blend the tomato into a purée and keep aside.

  3. Heat oil in a deep skillet pan, add cumin, sauté for few seconds, add coarsely ground onion ginger mix and chopped green chilli. Stir and roast until it turns light brown in colour. Keeping the flame on low, add salt, chilli powder, coriander powder, and turmeric, stir to mix the spices for a minute.

  4. Add the blended tomato and tomato paste. Roast until the oil is separated from the onion and tomatoes masala. Now add sugar and 4-5 cups of water along with reserved lauki water, cover and let it come to a rolling boil. Check seasoning, add salt or sugar if required.

  5. Add the koftas , stir and cover the lid and simmer on low fire for 15-18 minutes. Add garam masala and give a gentle stir.

  6. Serve and garnish with chopped coriander and cream.

COOK'S NOTES

  • Use the tender Lauki for this recipe. If the lauki has larger and thicker seeds, discard them before grating.

  • I generally make this curry with just besan but I tried adding chana atta along with besan and the results were equally amazing. Hence its a tip, if you run out of besan and you have some chana atta at hand, you can easily replace it for making koftas.

  • If you are vegan, skip the cream for garnishing. Instead use dairy free cream, coconut cream for garnishing or serve just as is.

  • Do not discard the lauki water as it has all the nutrients. Add it to the gravy to bring more flavour.