Lauki Yoghurt Curry

Lauki Curry — Bottle gourd in tangy tomato, tempered with south Indian tadka of mustard seeds, curry leaves, ginger and dried red chillies is finished off with warmed whisked yoghurt. Lauki yoghurt curry is best served with steamed rice along with some meat or chicken side dish. 
Bottle Gourd Yoghurt curry served with steamed white rice and chicken cutlets
This is my mother-in-law's recipe that I had mentioned in my lauki paratha post. She calls this "Louki Curry" though the flavour is very south Indian. I don't know why she decided to call it Lauki which is the Hindi word for Bottle Gourd instead of calling it Chorakka curry as per Malayalam. Now, all of her family call this Lauki Curry but for the blog sake, I am calling it Lauki Yoghurt Curry. 

I have been making this since Yanbu days and had shared on Instagram highlights for my own reference. But surprisingly many of you tried and loved it too! So I have been wanting to make for the blog and here I am finally sharing the best version of the Lauki Yoghurt Curry recipe with details but with not so great pictures. I am so sorry! I just don't get to the point of photoshoot whenever I make this... we drown the rice and drink the rest! A perfect summer curry recipe for cooling off the body heat! 

Ingredients for Bottle Gourd in Yoghurt Curry

  • Bottle Gourd: Trim the ends, peel the skin, cut into half and then slice vertically into half-inch sticks. Slice and discard the seedy and sponge part. Chop into 1/2 inch pieces. Wash and keep them submerged in water until needed. You may do this a day ahead but keep them in the water to retain freshness. For this recipe, you will need 2 to 3 cups of chopped bottle gourd which is approx 300gms after chopping.
  • Green chillies: We love green chilli heat so I usually add up to 5 but you may adjust as per your taste and the variety you have. 
  • Spice powders: Only turmeric powder and red chilli powder is used in this curry.
  • Water: Just enough to cook the bottle gourd.
  • Tomato: A large ripe one should do.
  • Full-fat yoghurt: It is best to use full-fat for the taste and body of the curry. If you are running short of yoghurt, you may whisk in laban (buttermilk) to make up the difference. You may add tepid full-fat milk to your yoghurt tub and let it sit on the counter overnight to make it curd. Whatever, make sure you use full-fat ingredients to get the best taste of this simple dish.
  • Salt to taste: goes without saying!
  • Coconut oil: for tempering aka tadka or like my mil says "kaachioyichu" or like my mom says "thazhichu oyichu" 
  • mustard seeds: Integral part of a south Indian tadka. 
  • ginger: Umma never mentioned ginger in her recipe but I began to add some ginger because I love the flavour it imparts similar to traditional Moru (buttermilk) curry. I would highly recommend you add too.
  • curry leaves: duh! 
  • dried red chillies: I have burnt enough dried red chillies in my cooking years that now, I add them in the end before I switch off :-P

How to make Lauki curry? Bottle Gourd in yoghurt curry?

First, we got to keep the yoghurt ready. Whisk well and keep it on the counter to bring it to room temperature. Then, we start off by cooking the chopped lauki with spices and water. When the lauki pieces are almost cooked (they turn translucent), we add the chopped tomatoes and cook until all or most of the water is reduced. Make a quick tempering (tadka) in a smaller pan and pour over the cooked bottle gourd mixture. If your whisked yoghurt is still cold, then switch off the pot and wait until the yoghurt is ready to use. Stir in the whisked yoghurt on a low to medium flame and continue to whisk gently until it starts to steam. Do not let the yoghurt boil so make sure the flame is low and also continue to stir. This is the only stage you need to give full attention to the surface of the curry. Switch off as soon as it steams, you can find out by placing your palm over the pot. If it is warm, then it is almost ready. Stir and switch off. Remove the pot from the hob and serve with rice along with beef fry or chicken fry or chicken cutlets and some appalams and achaar. 

chopped bottle gourd with spices and water ready to cook

almost cooked bottle gourd and ready to add tomatoes

chopped tomatoes added to the pot

cooked lauki and tomatoes with water reduced

Pouring prepated tadka

prepared lauki yoghurt curry with whisked yoghurt

South Indian Lauki Yoghurt Curry Recipe 

INGREDIENTS

For Lauki curry:
  • 300gms chopped bottled gourd (approx 2 to 3 cups)
  • 3 to 5 green chillies, slit
  • 3/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • Enough water (just an inch more than the level of veggies)
  • 1 large tomato, chopped roughly
  • 2 cups whisked full-fat yoghurt, room temperature
  • Salt to taste
For Tadka:
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger (optional)
  • 1 sprig of curry leaves
  • 2 dry red chillies

METHOD

  1. Cook bottle gourd and tomato: Take a deep saucepot and add the chopped bottle gourd, green chillies, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt. Stir in enough water to cook the bottle gourd. Cook covered on medium flame until the bottle gourd pieces are translucent and are almost cooked. Do stir in between and add more water if required. This will take anywhere between 20 to 25 minutes. You may do this in a pressure cooker. Once the water reduces and lauki is almost cooked, add the chopped tomato, cover and cook until the tomato chunks turn mushy and all the water is reduced. Do stir occasionally to prevent from burning. Bring the mixture to a full boil and then switch off. 
  2. Prepare the tempering: Heat coconut oil in a smaller pan. Add the mustard seeds and let them splutter. Next, add the ginger (if using) and curry leaves and fry for a few seconds and lastly add the dry red chillies and switch off. Swirl a few times and pour over the lauki curry. Let this cool before you can add the whisked yoghurt. 
  3. Add whisked yoghurt: Prepare 2 cups of whisked yoghurt and let it sit on the counter until the curry cools. Stir in the whisked yoghurt and make sure it is mixed well with the curry without any trace of yoghurt. Switch on the heat to low to medium flame. Do not let the curry boil because it will cause the yoghurt to split and curdle. Keep stirring all the time until it steams. You can place your palm over the pot to sense if it has started to steam. Switch off and remove the pot from the hob. 
  4. Serve lauki yoghurt curry: Serve warm lauki curry with rice, chicken cutlets and lime pickle. Refrigerate any leftover for 3 to 5 days. Reheat after bringing to room temperature. Whisk while warming and heat just until it steams. 
Lauki curry server with rice, chicken cutlets and lime pickle
Lauki curry server with rice, chicken cutlets and lime pickle

You may want to check my lauki chana dal, a north Indian bottle gourd and lentil curry that goes well with Indian bread and rice too. 

I would love to know if you tried this recipe. You may leave a comment below or follow me on Instagram and mention @butfirstchaai or tag #butfirstchaiblog so that I can see your creations! 
Thank you! 

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