Cooking with Bottle Gourd: Lau-er khosha bhaja or gourd skin fry
Fried bottle gourd skin is usually served as the first course in a Bengali meal.
There are a lot of tweaks that one can perform in the kitchen. After my post on Lau Chingri ie bottle gourd cooked with prawns, it is time to prepare something totally different. Lau-er khosha bhaja or fried gourd skin is a very simple and delicious dish, made out of the peel, which we otherwise throw away in the bin. Considering the exorbitant price of vegetables, it is a great way to make use of the throw-away peel, which is also full of nutrients.
Recipe for Lau-er khosha bhaja
1 bottle gourd weighing about 1.5 kg or more
2 tbsp of white oil
1/2 tsp of black nigella seeds
1/4 tsp of turmeric powder
1 small onion cut into small pieces
A split green chilli
1. Peel the bottle gourd. Please do not scrape it with a peeler as it will make the peels very thin. Neither should you make them very thick. The taste of the dish depends a lot on the way you cut them.
2. Collect all the peels and chop them into very small thin pieces (about 1 cm in breadth and 1.5 cm in length). You can cut them on a chopping board with a knife. The rest is very easy.
3. Wash the peels thoroughly and boil/steam them in a wok with half a cup of water for 1 or 2 minutes. Sprinkle little salt over it and cover the wok. I steam it a bit so that it consumes less oil. Be careful not to overcook it as it is going to be fried later.
4. Drain the water and keep them aside. Now put 2 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan. When the oil is hot, put a split green chilli and half a teapoon of nigella seeds in it. After the seeds start crackling, put the chopped onion in it. When it is half done, put the boiled pieces of peel in it. Add 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric powder and salt, as per taste. Keep stirring it lightly on a low heat till it is dry and a bit crispy.
5. Serve it with plain rice as a first course.