Monday, June 04, 2012

Lau er Khosha Bhaja -- for a lauly lunch

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Around 12 years ago, a then two or maybe three year old nephew of mine, in his freshly minted knowledge of English had said

"God is Lau"

I think he meant "Love". Or maybe not.

I am never sure of such stuff.

Everytime I cook a lau--the lauki -- the bottlegourd, I think of that line and try to search for some deeper meaning.

But he also went around saying "God is GodParmesh" which I THINK does not deliver any profound message. Or maybe does.

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The Bong's lazy and apparently wrong way of chopping bottlegourd peel

The bottlegourd---the one we call lau is a favorite summer vegetable for the bangali. It is a beautiful shade of green that captures your senses in the baked brown heat of an Indian Summer. Top it with its cooling qualities and high water content,and you have a veggie that is brought back from the haat every other day along with two more favored summer veggies -- potol and jhinge. By the time the hottest summer is over Bengalis are only too glad to tuck away their lau recipes and look around for a fulkopi.

Everytime my Ma made a Lau, she saved away the peel, the lau er khosha, to make a quick stir fry. She did a similar thing with potato skins. No points for guessing which I liked better.

Friday on a whim I saved the lau er khosha -- the peel. It is not a regular feature. Mostly I am lazy and throw it away. This time I didn't. I did not chop it fine though as is the norm. I have little patience with such things. The kitchen Nazi husband was aghast. "Jhiri Jhiri kata hoy ni!", he bemoaned. The peels are not julienned being the essence.

I ignored and posted the pic of the bottle gourd peels which were not "jhiri-jhiri" on my FB blog page. Well it turned out 99% of Bengalis were as aghast as the kitchen Nazi husband. Most of my blog readers are very polite and so they protested only meekly. I stir fried my un-jhirijhiri peels with kalonji and dry red chili. They tasted fine enough.

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The Bong's right way of chopping bottlegourd peel

The next morning the husband who was obviously itching to get the peels done right got hold of another bottlegourd. He peeled strips of the pale green peel in three-quarter of an inch width and piled them high. Then he chopped them fine along the width -- jhiri jhiri. Everyone breathed relief. I made the stir fry again. It tasted the same. I guess if the skin or peel is a tough one the fine cut is necessary else the peel might burn before it gets fully cooked. In this case the peel was soft and tender and both ways worked.

But I dare not tell a Bong that. If it is Lau er Khosha -- they want it jhiri jhiri.



Peel the skin of a bottlegourd. Chop it in julienne. There will very little peel from a single gourd, I had only 1/4 cup of it.

Wash it well. Now toss it with little salt and turmeric powder. Keep aside for 10 mins.

Heat 1 tsp Mustard Oil

Temper oil with 1/4 tsp Kalo Jeera(Kalonji) and 2 Dry Red Chili

Drain any excess water from the peels and add it to above. Now saute the peel at medium high heat. Sprinkle water as needed.

Add sugar and salt to taste. Go easy on the salt as you added some earlier. Sprinkle some poppy seeds on top and cook till the skin has softened and is cooked.The poppy seed is optional.

Variations:

A variation from Reshmi Bose as suggested on Facebook: Temper with Kalo jeera, sliced garlic and one green chili

37 comments:

  1. I love bottlegourd it is a pity we don't get it here, theough i have never had a dish just with peels only found out they make dishes with it after i started blogging.

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    1. My mother-in-law cooks with a lot of peel actually

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  2. Ha ha.. so he finally got the jhiri-jhiri one, huh? :)

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  3. Sandeepadi,
    Tumi jhiri jhiri kore aloo-bhaja katte paro? Tomar kaache ota korar kono tips aache? Amar didi jokhon eshechilo tokhon aloor khosha bhaja baniye diyechilo onek baar. I just loved it... What is it about the khosha bhaja that makes it so endearing I wonder, sigh!

    Sutapa :)

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    1. Darao amar husband ke diye katabo , tokhon chobi tule post korar cheshta korbo

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  4. What a coincidence!! I cooked Lau er khosha-alur khosha bhaja yesterday :) after cooking Lau Chingri. Was almost like a treat after long time.

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    1. Yes it is indeed a treat to eat such stuff these days

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  5. Godparmesh. And that too from a 2 year old? I laughed so much. You are so funny Sandeepa! Now whenever I chop a Lau I will laugh. Thanks.....

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  6. This is one of my favorite recipe.

    I blog @ Manidipa's Kitchen

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  7. Didn't know the peel can be useful, i ve seen chutney but stir fry not bad. He sounds a great foodie too :)

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    1. Yes, I have seen chutneys with peel in South Indian blogs. Want to try that too

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  8. "Meri jhiri jhiri si ..." - would make a nice song, wouldn't it?

    I love the jhiri jhiri-knife photo. And the God is Lau cracked me up.

    I made a peel curry twice. Once was a big success, second time not. Then I stopped because I thought all the pesticides would be concentrated in the peel.

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    1. ROFL ! I am now going to hum that all the time :-D

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  9. @sra: immediately started humming "meri jhiri jhiri si"...such was the impact!
    ;-)
    @sandeepa: oi tuku "jhirijhiri" khosa o bhajar porr aro kome jaye!! hmm...this same thing with alu-r khosa also tastes heavenly!

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    1. thik bolecho oitukuni hoy bole ami ar kori na.

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  10. mom would occasionally make lau'er khosha bhaaja when I was growing up. Never touched it then. But then who knows. I recently had lau shaak after all

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    Replies
    1. After 30 you tend to fall for such stuff and around 40 you pine for them

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  11. Very innovative and resourceful i must say! Never heard of something like this! Looking forward to try it out.

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    Replies
    1. it is amazing how some of the traditional recipes use a lot of stuff that we would otherwise throw away

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  12. Jhiri- jhiri ta to darun. This one is a keeper :) tomar khosa bhaja ta (both versions) banabo, anek din khai na. Never tried the potato khosa though.

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    Replies
    1. Alu Khosha is really good and you don't have to cut fine either

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  13. My mother has taught me another variety.. where instead of tempering with garlic... we temper it with normal jeera, and add paste of two plump garlic cloves while frying... it has a lovely aroma & adds a nice punch to the khosha-bhaja..

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    1. I have never added garlic in bhaja...sounds a nice variations

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  14. I stir fried with onion and alu.... Came out pretty well.

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    Replies
    1. That is a good idea, by itself, it amounts to very little

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  15. Hello
    Thanks for the lau er khosha bhaja for lauly lunch recipe.
    I'll create one for sure, my kids are gonna like it :)
    If you don't mind, can you submit your lau er khosha bhaja for lauly lunch photo in http://www.foodporn.net ?
    It's a food photography site full of all DIY food pictures from members around the world. Or perhaps you'd like to submit by yourself? Let me know when you did, so I can share it.

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  16. Many Indians, with their delightful regional accents, insist all their adult life that God is Lau, to rhyme with stau/stove. Here is an absolutely true story, that happened to a Bangali lady who worked for the Indian consulate in NYC for 23 years. Her colleague would declare with great pride, and often, ".....di [her common form of address at that office], my wife is a 'mess'." At least, that is what our esteemed .....di seemed to hear! Years passed, and one day, the gentleman brought his wife to an office function and, with a beaming face introduced her to everyone, including our didi: "Here is my wife, the ness" Ah, now it became slightly clearer, the "mess" was actually a "ness", an RN! That's where God incarnates as Lau, in His Own Country!!

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    Replies
    1. This was hilarious :) "mess" indeed

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  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  18. Wonderfully published and the story too...One of my favourites bong food is Lau chokla..loved the way you did it..

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  19. আমাদের বাড়িতে এটাকে 'লাউ ছেচকি' বলে।শুধু ১ ছিটে কালো জিরে আর ২ ফোটা কাঁচা লঙ্কা!

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