Bengali Vegetarian Recipe Series
Lau Mug Er Ghonto
The third recipe in this Bengali Vegetarian Series is an all time Summer favourite – Lau mug er ghonto or bottlegourd with moog dal / yellow lentils.
As I had mentioned before in my previous posts that gourds are one of the favourite class of vegetables especially during hot summer months (as these also acts as a coolant for the body too), we Bongs have this undying appreciation towards this particular one- lau or bottlegourd / lauki / ghiya.
Some of the favourite gourd recipes are here –
How We Use Bottle Gourd And Its Leaves / Stalks In The Recipe?
The fresh and juvenile vines of bottlegourd greens (or lau er saag / lauki ki saag) makes for an excellent chorchori with a relish of mustard and small shrimps.
The tender green leaves too can be relished as a mash (or lau paata baata) that goes well with simple steamed rice alone.
The smooth light green skin of the vegetable too taste exotic when it is cut into small sticks with razor sharp precision and made into a lip smacking lau khosha chenchki / stir fried bottle gourd skin.
And the vegetable alone can be made into many myriad ways – the niramish style (pure vegetarian way), the one that I am going to share with you today and the aamish style with fish head and prawns. This style of preparation of vegetables with fish or any other non veg food has its own class – semi vegetarian dishes which is quite unique with Bengali cuisine.
Lau mug er ghonto is simple dish with minimal combination of flavours- lightly scented with cumin seeds, the sharpness of ginger , the heat from green chillies and uniquely flavoured with moog dal and dal er bori / lentil wadis. But the way we slice the bottle gourd makes all the differences.
How To Cut The Bottle Gourd, The Bengali Way?
This is again one of the unique aspect of our Bengali cuisine, where we add too much emphasizes on the cuts of the vegetables. Like for dalna or ghonto all the vegetables must be of same shape and size and for chenchki, the vegetables must be julienned with utmost precision.
Similarly here in case of bottle gourd too, we try to achieve that precision and over the period of time it has become almost an art form. The bottle gourd first must be sectioned cross section ally into three or four parts.
Then each part is sliced thinly into circles. Circles are then gathered together on top of one another and halve from the middle into semi circles. Those semi circles are then gathered in similar fashion and sliced thinly into half inch sticks. Too much geometry involved, isn’t it?
But that is the only way we cut a bottle gourd.
Generally this dish of bottlegourd / lau er ghonto is prepared with dal er bodi or lentil wadis which is quite indispensable here. But procuring a high quality one, even a good one again becomes a challenge for us , specially for those who lives outside Bengal. Hence this minor deviation from the original one – I had prepared this with dal er bora or lentil fritters. Believe me, this taste surprisingly so good, that henceforth it has becomes my to go recipe to make lau er ghonto. Idea was not to replicating the taste and flavour of daler bori but to add some innovative touch to the dish which should sound equally good. And this daler bora or lentil fritters does exactly that.
Bengali Lau Mug Er Ghonto / Bottle Gourd Curry (Dry)
- 1-2 Bottle gourd
- 10-12 Daler Bora / Lentil Fritters
- ¼ cup Moog Dal / Yellow Lentils
- 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
- 1-2 Bay Leaves
- 1 tbsp Ginger, grated
- 2 Green Chillies
- ½ tsp Turmeric Powder
- 1 tsp Corainder Powder
- Coriander Leaves , a light handful
- Salt To taste
- 1 tsp Sugar
- 2 tbsp Mustard Oil
- 1 tsp Ghee
- 3 tbsp Grated Coconut (optional)
- Wash and peel the bottle gourd (use a fresh one) and cut it into Bengali style. Description is there in the post. Please refer the picture for reference.
- Wash the lentils and dry it throughly. Keep it aside
- In a kadhai , dry roast the lentils till golden brown. You can sprinkle little ghee too while roasting the lentils. Keep it aside.
- In the same kadhai, heat the mustard oi. Temper it with cumin seeds and bay leaves.
- Tip in the grated ginger and green chillies and saute for couple of minutes.
- Add the bottle gourd, with turmeric powder, roasted moog dal/ lentils and salt. Mix it properly, Close the lid, lower the heat and let it cook till soft and tender.Bottle gourd will release lots of water and it will get cooked in its own juice.This will take around 30 minutes and keep stirring in between.
- If the bottle gourd becomes soft and tender, proceed with the next step. Else continue with the above step for few more minutes or till it is done.
- Add the coriander powder, daler bora / lentil fritters and continuing the cooking process for another 5 minute.
- This is a dry preparation and taste best when water is not added in this recipe.
- The quantity of the bottle gourd will reduce to almost 1/2 of its original volume . Check for all the seasonings. Take care while stirring the curry, as not to break the lentil fritters.
- Once done, drizzle more ghee, add the sugar. Give a nice stir.
- Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and freshly grated coconut (optional).
- Serve this with steamed rice.