Sunday, 26 February 2012

STUFFED BOTTLE GOURD

 I came across some people and somehow got into a conversation about vegetables we would rather not eat. Amazingly one vegetable seemed to be the topmost on all the lists as the most no-no vegetable.

Funnily, it is one vegetable that Ayurvedic medicine rates amongst the healthier and is present in the to-have list due to it's medicinal qualities and all Indian mothers give their young children often as it is light on the stomach, has diuretic benefits and is rich in many important minerals and some vitamins, is low in calorie content and has a good amount of dietary fiber.
But inspite of knowing the benefits the same adults do not like this vegetable as they associate it with the ill.
They believe that it should be eaten by people with weak constitution.

Juice of this vegetable taken on an empty stomach is known to be beneficial in reducing cholesterol, though care needs to be taken to see that the vegetable is not bitter tasting. If bitter, the vegetable is extremely harmful and should not be consumed. Recent studies have shown that it should not be mixed with other vegetables for juicing purposes.

Here is a recipe especially for all those friends of mine who dislike Bottle Gourd.

This recipe will take a little longer to prepare but it will be worth the effort. It will take approximately 45 minutes to an hour. But if you plan for it ahead and do a bit of the preparation earlier it can take as little as 20 minutes or less.

STUFFED BOTTLE GOURD

Things you can do ahead :

Make paneer
Boil and mash potatoes.
Grind cashewnuts coarsely.
Steam the bottle gourd and scoop the seeds out.

Ingredients:
.Oil..................................2 tsp.
.Cherry tomato.................10
.Cashewnuts.....................10
.Bottle gourd.....................1 piece of approximately 600gm.
.Salt...................................3 tsp
.Water...............................to steam the bottle gourd in.

For Paneer/Cottage cheese @ home
.Milk................................1 1/2 cup
.White vinegar..................1 tsp.
.Cheese cloth

Filling:
.Potato..............................450gm, boiled, peeled and mashed roughly.
.Paneer..............................60gm or 1/2 cup grated.
.Cashewnuts......................1/2 cup , coarsely powdered
.Fresh red chili...................2 tsp. finely chopped
.Ginger...............................1 tsp. grated
.Garlic.................................1 tsp. finely chopped
.Coriander leaves.................1/4th cup
.Bread crumbs.....................3 Tbsp.
.Yogurt................................1 Tbsp.
.Salt.....................................to taste
.Red chili powder.................1 1/2 tsp.
.Coriander powder................2 tsp.
.Turmeric powder.................1/4th tsp.
.Garam masala powder..........1 tsp.
.Dry mango powder...............2 tsp.
.Lemon juice..........................2 tsp. +1 tsp to drizzle


Method:
For the bottle gourd:
.Peel the bottle gourd.
.Trim off the two ends.
.Cut into 2 pieces( cross section) and rub salt.
.Steam the bottle gourd in a pressure cooker for 5 minutes or till just done.
.Scoop out the seeds using a sharp knife and a spoon, taking care not to split the bottle gourd.
.Rinse off the excess salt.
.Set aside.

For Paneer/Cottage cheese @ home
.Bring the milk to a boil on medium heat.
.Reduce heat further and add the vinegar.
.The milk will slowly curdle.
.Once all the milk has curdled, you will see a greenish liquid and the milk solids forming separate layers,
 sieve it through the cheese cloth. The milk solids will collect in the cheese cloth.
.Wash the paneer gently through the cheese cloth.
.Drain out all the liquid by hanging it over the kitchen sink..will take about 5 to 10 minutes.
.This will give 1/2 cup of fresh paneer.
         or
you can skip this step and grate 1/2 cup ready-made shop-bought paneer or cottage cheese.


Filling:
.Mix all the ingredients well.

How to proceed:
.Stuff this filling into the cavity in the bottle gourd tightly.
.Cut the cherry tomatoes into half and scoop out the seeds. Fill the filling in the cavity.
.At this point you can wrap it in the cling film and refrigerate for later use. Use within 24 hours.
.Cut into 3/4th inch discs.
.Heat 2 tsp oil in a skillet.
.Fry the cashewnuts in this oil and set aside.
.Gently put the bottle gourd discs flat into the same skillet and grill them on both sides till the filling is crisp
 and browned. This will take about 3 to 4 minutes.
.Put in the cherry tomatoes filling side down and cook till filling is browned about 1 minute.
.Gently place the discs and tomatoes in a serving platter and drizzle a little lemon juice.
.Garnish with the fried cashewnuts.
.Eat it while it is piping hot.

Note:
.Butter two slices of bread.
.Put  some iceberg lettuce on one slice of bread.
.Put one disc of the stuffed bottle gourd.
.Cover it with a cheese slice.
.Cover it with the 2nd slice.
.Grill it.
.Cut it into two diagonally.
.Put the diagonal side into your mouth and take a big bite.
.Yes you have just bitten into the tastiest and juiciest burger.

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