I'm not lying when I tell that I had not tasted bottle gourd (sorakkaya) until after I moved to the US after my marriage. It was never bought in our house. After moving to the US, I saw this a lot in the Indian grocery stores and picked it up once. I tried the usual kootu (dal) and sambar and did not like it because I felt that it had some unpleasant smell. Maybe that's the reason it never appeared in my mother's kitchen. So I was avoiding this vegetable by all means. I never picked it up but my husband will never forget to get this when he went grocery shopping. Thanks to the internet and zillion food blogs I started finding a lot of interesting recipes using this vegetable and have been cooking those recipes quite frequently. Valli's Chettinad Sorakkai Kurma is very famous in our house.
Last week I decided to try bottle gourd stuffed parathas just like the way I would make radish parathas. For the radish parathas, I would squeeze out the water after grating it, but I completely forgot about this step while preparing the bottle gourd parathas. I didn't remember this until I started frying the bottle gourd. I was wondering if the parathas would turn out well but I need not have worried after all. Since the water is not squeezed out it takes a couple of minutes extra for the water to evaporate but otherwise there was no problem at all.
Recipe: Lauki/Dudhi Paratha (Bottle Gourd stuffed Flatbread)
Prep Time for the stuffing: 15-20 minutes
Prep Time for the dough: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 3-4 minutes per paratha
Makes: 10 parathas
Shelf Life: Better consumed the same day
Recipe Level: Basic/Beginner/Easy
Spice Level: High
Recipe/Post by: Madhuram
For the parathas:
Whole Wheat Flour - 2 and 1/2 cups
Hot water as required
Oil - 1 teaspoon
Salt as required
For the stuffing:
Oil - 1 tablespoon
Cumin Seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Bottle Gourd, grated - 2 cups
Turmeric Powder - a pinch
Cumin Powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Coriander Powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Chili Powder - 3/4 teaspoon or as required
Salt - 3/4 teaspoon or as per your taste
Lemon Juice - Juice of half a lemon (optional)
- Take the flour and salt in a medium size bowl. Oil your right palm and fingers with the 1 teaspoon of oil. Slowly add the hot water with your left hand to the flour mixture and form a soft dough with your right hand. Knead it a couple of times. Since you have oiled your hand the dough will not stick to your fingers and also it will add softness to the dough. Place the dough in a covered vessel and keep it aside for at least 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile prepare the bottle gourd stuffing. In a big frying pan add the 1 tablespoon of oil and wait until it is hot. Add the cumin seeds and let it crackle. Now add the grated bottle gourd and all the other spice powders and salt. Do not add lemon juice now. Do not add any water, because the bottle gourd will itself secrete enough water to cook it. Cover the frying pan with a lid. Doing so will create condensation and hence some more water. This is enough to cook the bottle gourd. Cook it for 7-8 minutes. Then remove the lid and let it cook until all the water has evaporated. This may take another 6 -8 minutes. Make sure that there is no more water left. Cook until it is dry. Then add the lemon juice and mix it well. Divide the stuffing into 10 small pieces and roll it; keep it aside.
- Heat the tava on high heat. Divide the paratha dough into 10 equal balls. The size of the chapathi dough balls has to be bigger than the size of the stuffing ball to ensure that the stuffing does not come out while rolling the dough.
- Have some flour in a plate to roll the dough. Take a piece of the dough, roll it on the flour and slightly flatten it with the center of your palms. Form that into a small cup like structure, making a small dent in the center with your thumb and rotating it. Place one stuffing ball inside the dough cup and close it forming like a modak and press down the tip of the dough; making it into a thick round disk.
- Again flip both the sides of this disk in the flour and start rolling it with a rolling pin applying gentle pressure evenly. Be very delicate while rolling or else the stuffing will start showing out.
- Spray the tava with non stick cooking spray and place the rolled paratha and cook it for 1-2 minutes. Spray again or apply oil on the top of the paratha and flip it. Let the other side cook for another 1-2 minutes. Repeat the same process for rest of the parathas.
- Make the stuffing spicier than you are normally used to, otherwise the parathas will be bland.
- After grating the bottle gourd you could also squeeze out the excess water before cooking it. I do this while preparing radish parathas.
- Zucchini and radish parathas can be prepared in the similar method.