If you have been paying attention to what I write on my blog and have an amazing memory, then you would know how much I love my parents’ cook, Hira. He is super talented and makes the most amazing food. Had I not gotten sick in India I am sure I would have put on a lot of weight. Thankfully that did not happen.
So while V was having super healthy Glow spinach smoothies in the US, I was feasting on Hira’s amritsari Kulchas, chholley, butter chicken, grilled fish, koftas, phirni decorated with rose petals and so much more. (I really have no right to crib that V is thinner than me, just don’t.)
The other day my mom and I were on the phone and my mom told me about what Hira had been making quite a lot for their lunch these days. She was talking about these Ghiya koftas that I am sharing today on GMT.
Ghiya or lauki or what in the english language is known as bottle gourd, is packed with health and cosmetic benefits. That and the fact that it carries a low price tag are reasons why it constitutes a major part of food in the Indian cuisine. The western world not so much. I still have to get bottle gourd from the asian market in Phoenix. I have never had any luck finding it here in our small mining town. So that’s why its not made as often as I would like.
As a kid, like all kids, I hated “Ghiya” because, well, it was a green vegetable. My grandmother though was a clever one (people say I have gone on her), she would invent interesting ways to make sure we get our daily serving of vegetables. She would use leftover green, leafy veggies that I refused to eat otherwise, in paranthas, the same way I make dal paranthas. She also used to make this lauki (bottle gourd) chocolate ice cream which we kids never realized thats what the ice cream contained. We became aware of the vegetable’s existence in it by accident, when it slipped from some elder’s mouth. But by then we did not care, since the ice cream used to taste awesome.
These ghiya koftas are kind of like that.
Not that they taste like ice cream. (Now, wouldn’t that be wonderful- vegetable gravies tasting like ice cream. Sigh.) But, they are a good way to fool someone who doesn’t like green, good-for-you vegetables to eat just that. For example, your husband. (For the health freak that V can be sometimes, getting him to eat certain veggies can be a big pain!)
These are simple to make too. Only the frying is a bit time consuming (and unhealthy, but well that’s what the gym is for!). A few simple steps and your are done.
First, you need to prepare the koftas. For that take the bottle gourd and peel it and grate it. Remove any seeds and then squeeze the heck out of the grated bottle gourd. (Madonna does yoga for her arms, I squeeze the heck out of bottle gourd.)
Once you are finished with working on your arms, then its easy peazy there on.
Saute the grated, squeezed bottle gourd with some cumin seeds, ginger, green chillies and few other spices, and put enough gram flour to let the mixture come together and become tight enough to work with.
Once cool enough to handle, make the kofta balls. Just like the really cool GIF that I have showed here.
Now comes the part where you health freaks might cringe a bit. Once the kofta balls are formed, heat enough oil to deep fry them. I have heard that you can make them in appam pans as well, but since I have not tried it I can’t comment. You could bake them as well, but then again haven’t tried so can’t say.
I just fried them. I mean I am still eating a green vegetable, right. I know a lot of people who wonder and have asked me about it as well that how Indians being vegetarians can ever be fat. This here is how. We fry the heck out of all our veggies. They taste delicious in all that butter laden gravies, but that also explains how vegetarian Indians can be fat.
But, honestly this ghiya kofta isn’t that bad for you. Well, not as bad as its potato and paneer filled counterpart. So make it, please.
After all the balls (I said balls!) are fried, make the gravy, which again is a simple onion tomato gravy. You can add cream/milk to it. I did not add any cream or milk, but later did for photography purpose (the torture I am putting my body for you guys, I hope you realize and appreciate it).
Once the gravy is made, add the kofta balls to the gravy and serve hot, garnished with finely chopped coriander leaves and any indian flat bread.
Enjoy and have a happy Wednesday!
- 1 kg bottle gourd
- ½ tbsp cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp ginger, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp green chillies
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp red chilli powder, or to taste
- 1 tsp roasted cumin powder
- 80-100 gms gram flour (might require less, add tbsp at a time)
- 2 onions, medium size
- ½ tbsp kasoori methi
- 4 tomatoes
- ½ tbsp each ginger and garlic made into a paste
- 100 gm curd/yogurt, beaten
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- ½ tsp red chilli powder
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 cup water (use the liquid squeezed out from the bottle gourd. Add enough water to make a cup), plus additional for boiling the tomatoes and onion
- pinch garam masala
- milk or cream, optional
- Peel and grate the bottle gourd. Remove any seeds and squeeze the water out between your hands, reserving the liquid for the gravy.
- In a saucepan, or kadhai, heat oil.
- Once the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds. Let sizzle.
- Add in the chopped ginger and green chillies. Add the grated bottle gourd and let any watre thats left dry off, about 5-10 minutes.
- Once dry, add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, cumin powder and salt, to taste.
- Gradually, 1 tbsp at a time add the gram flour/besan. Once the mixture is tight enough to handle, switch the flame off.
- Once cool, make kofta balls. Makes about 12-15 koftas.
- Boil onions, tomatoes in a cup of water. Let boil for a minute. Remove and make a paste without any water.
- In a saucepan, heat the oil, and add the ginger garlic paste. After a minute add the tomato onion paste. Cook well till oil separates.
- Add the red chilli powder and turmeric powder. Add the beaten curd. Cook till oil separates again.
- Add in the kasoori methi powder, salt, garam masala and water. Add milk or cream, if you want. Cook for a few seocnds. Add in the koftas. Remove from heat. Garnish with coriander/cilantro leaves.