From the gourd family

From the gourd family

Eat healthy

From the gourd family

The term ‘gourd’ is used to describe several members of the squash and melon family that are all characterised by thick skins and a watery flesh, and generally thrive in hot or tropical climates.

Edible varieties include the bitter gourd, bottle gourd, ivy gourd, ridged gourd, snake gourd, wax gourd etc. These gourds are particularly popular in South East Asian countries where they are often incorporated in curries or served as a vegetable side dish.

There are many dishes that can be made from bottle gourd which is one of the most popular ones. Bharwa Lauki is a famous dish. Bottle gourd is stuffed with spicy paneer which is tossed in a flavourful tomato based gravy. One can also use boiled potatoes instead of paneer for the stuffing to make an altogether different dish.

Lauki or bottle gourds can also be used in sweet dish. The most popular one is Lauki ka halwa. It is made from milk, sugar, ghee and cashewnuts. Bottle gourd also has many health benefits and curative properties. The juice of bottle gourd is used as a remedy for many ailments. This vegetable contains 96 per cent water, is low in calories, high in fibre and therefore aids weight loss.

The high fibre content also helps prevent constipation. Another popular one from this family is the bitter gourd. Karela or bitter gourd, although quite bitter when raw, has a wonderful taste once it is cooked properly. It is a low calorie vegetable which has many nutritional benefits. Stuffing the karela with a blend of spices makes it very palatable and this recipe is made in many regions of India. 

Executive Chef Pankaj Rana of Club Rhino, says, “Zucchini and squash are the most commonly useds in various dishes. And then people prefer bharwa karela too. We also serve butternut squash as soup, which goes with garlic and cheese bread.”

Although most of the gourds are available all year-round, they should be stored in the salad tray of the fridge, where they will stay fresh for three-four days.