Bottle Gourd (Lauki/Dhoodhi in hindi and churaykka in Malayalam) is a type of squash with light green skin and white flesh. Interestingly, as the name suggests, it is one of the first cultivated plants in the world that was grown not for food but as a container.
This is my mother-in-law’s recipe which all who have tasted it, loved it. Normally, if you put a vegetable and seafood/meat in front of any non-vegetarian lover, it’s for sure they’ll choose the non-veg. But this is one dish where people want more of the lauki than the prawns. I’m not kidding. Ask my husband or my cousin TJ. They’ll vouch for me!
CHURAYKKA CHEMEEN (PRAWNS WITH BOTTLE GOURD)
- Prawns – 250 grams, shelled and de-veined
- Dhoodhi – 500 grams, peeled, cored and then cubed
- Onions – 3, chopped
- Tomato – 1, chopped
- Green chilly – 2-3 nos.
- Chilli powder – 1 tablespoon
- Turmeric – 1/2 teaspoon
- Ginger garlic paste – 1 teaspoon
- Curry leaves – 2 sprigs
- Oil -3 tablespoons (enough oil to saute the onions)
- Thin coconut milk – 1 glass
- Thick coconut milk – 1/2 glass
- Salt to taste
For Tadka / Garnish
In a kadai or wok, heat the oil. Add the big onions and saute till it’s golden brown.
To this add ginger garlic paste, tomato, and curry leaves. Saute for another 2-3 minutes till the tomato gets soft.
Now, add chilli powder, turmeric and salt. Saute again for another 5 mins till it’s all well mixed and soft.
To this add the prawns and the bottle gourd. Mix it well in the spice mixture and let it remain as is for another couple of minutes.
Then add a little water and let the prawns and bottle gourd cook on medium flame (keep adding water as required).
When it’s almost ready (about 80%), add the thin coconut milk and let it cook again.
When the prawns and dhoodhi are at a perfect-to-eat stage, reduce the flame to minimum and then add the thick coconut milk. (remember to put it on low flame, else it’ll curdle). Now let it be on the fire for a minute or two and then switch off the flame.
Garnish with a tadka of small onions and curry leaves (i.e. heat oil in another small wok, add the sliced small onions and saute till it’s light brown. And then add the curry leaves to it. Switch off the flame and pour this mixture over your prepared curry!)
Serve hot with rice or bread!!