bottle gourd

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Also Known As

Calabash Gourd, White flower gourd, Doodhi, Dudhi, Ghiya, Lauki,

Description
It belongs to the gourd family- Cucurbitaceae and is a running or climbing vine. The fruit is harvested young and used as a vegetable. It has a light green smooth skin and a white inner flesh. Usually the round fruits are called Calabash gourd and the slender long fruits are called Bottle gourds.

Bottle gourd cubes
In order to make bottle gourd cubes, firstly peel the bottle gourd and discard the stem. Place on a chopping board and cut the peeled bottle gourd into halves from the centre lengthwise. Take each halve and make vertical slits lengthwise. Combine all the vertical slits together and make horizontal slits breadth wise to get cubes. You can make fine slits or thick slits as per recipe requirements. Bottle gourd cubes are used mainly in subzis, curries and gravies. It is also used for making juice.
Chopped bottle gourd
In order to chop bottle gourd, firstly peel the bottle gourd and discard the stem. Place on a chopping board and cut the peeled bottle gourd into halves from the centre lengthwise. Take each halves and make thin vertical slits lengthwise. Combine all the vertical slits together and make thin/fine horizontal slits breadth wise to get chopped bottle gourd. You can make fine slits or thick slits as per recipe requirements.
Another way to do this is to place the peeled bottle gourd on the chopping board and make thin vertical slits lengthwise to get thin strips. Stack 4 to 5 strips on top of each other and again make thin vertical slits lengthwise. Now combine these thin strips and make fine horizontal slits breath wise to get finely chopped bottle gourd.
Chopped Bottle gourd cubes are used mainly in subzis, curries and gravies. It may also be used in making stuffing/ fillings for savoury snacks.

Grated bottle gourd
In order to grate bottle gourd, firstly peel the bottle gourd and discard the stem. Place on a chopping board and cut the peeled bottle gourd into halves from the centre. Now hold a vegetable grater in one hand and the bottle gourd on the other. Starting from the top end of the grater, place it on the blade and push it down wards to get thickly grated/ thinly grated bottle gourd. Grated bottle gourd is used mainly in the preparation of the Indian sweet "Doodhi Halwa". It is also used in soups etc.
Sliced bottle gourd
In order to slice bottle gourd, firstly peel the bottle gourd and discard the stem. Place on a chopping board and cut the peeled bottle gourd into halves from the centre lengthwise. Take each halve and make another halve lengthwise. Combine all the 4 vertical slits together and make horizontal slits breadth wise to get sliced bottle gourd. Another way is to cut it into halves and then slice horizontally. You can make fine slices or thick slices as per recipe requirements. Sometimes, even roundels of bottle gourd may be termed as sliced bottle gourd. Bottle gourd slcies are used mainly in au gratins, curries and gravies.

How to select
Ensure that the bottle gourd has a smooth skin, is pale green in colour and free from any cuts, spots and blemishes. It should be firm to handle and the flesh should not feel soft when pressed.

Culinary Uses

· It doesn't take long cooking time and is used in various forms all around the world. In Chinese cuisine, it is frequently used in soups or in stir fries.
· In India, doodhi can be combined with dal and spices to make Doodhi Kootu. It can also be stir fried with onion, garlic and tomatoes to make asemi dry subzi that will go well with phulkas etc.
· Use grated bottle gourd to make kofta curries, muthias (gujarati steamed dumplings) and the famous Doodhi Halwa.
· In Japan, the vegetable is sliced, dried and marinated. These strips are used as a vegetarian alternative to sushi.
· Bottle gourd seeds are toasted and ground with rice, allspice etc to make a local drink in Central America called "Horchata". These seeds can also be coated with sugar, dried and then sold as candy.
· Bottle gourds are one of the favorite vegetables of Indians and has numerous health benefits. They are especially good for old aged people. Thus, it is consumed in juice form also.

How to store

Place bottle gourd in a zip lock bag/ freeze bag and store under refrigerated conditions. Chopped bottle gourd should be placed in glass/ stainless steel containers, covered with cling film and then refrigerated.

Health Benefits

· Bottle gourd is rich in fiber and essential minerals, iron and protein. Fibre helps in preventing constipation and other digestive disorders. Use in juiced form to treat stomach acidity, indigestion and ulcers.
· Since it is low in calories, bottle gourd can be used in low calorie diets.
· Bottle gourd acts as an alkaline mixture. Thus, when one is suffering from burning sensation in urinary passage due to high acidity in urine, one should have bottle gourd at least once in a day.
· Bottle gourd prevents excess sodium loss and also helps in preventing fatigue.
· Bottle gourd is commonly consumed in the juice form so that one can enjoy more nutritional benefits as compared to having it as a vegetable.
· When one suffers from severe diarrhea, diabetes etc and is very thirsty, one should consume bottle gourd juice which is a medicine for excessive thirst.






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