I never looked forward to eating lauki unless I had a bad stomach and was supposed to eat non-spicy, simple food. Or, when I was too anxious about an exam next morning and blamed a spicy dinner for all the ‘discomfort’ in the mornings. I think I had a fixed dinner menu of lauki ki sabji and roti during my entire exam season in all the four years of college. Mom would make a simple sabji with minimal spices and made sure to have it watery, as I refused to eat daal, again blaming it for the pangs I had in my tummy in the examination hall.
Cut to the present, I got all nostalgic when hubby N offered to make lauki ki sabji on a weekend. As per decorum, I stayed away from the kitchen while he was cooking and kept expecting the same, simple, humble lauki as the output. I was taken by surprise by what he served – it was bright and spicy, the addition of tomatoes made it tangy – a total contrast! I got hooked on to this version and have never treaded to the old path since then. Going a step further, I made this for mom and she loved it too. Kudos to N for giving me this version and rescuing lauki from what I had been doing to it.
Lauki – One big (peeled, chopped to small pieces).
Tomato – 2 small or 1 big (chopped very fine).
Green chili – 1, chopped small
Jeera/ Cumin – half tsp
Ajwain / Carom seeds – half tsp
Salt – as per taste
Sugar – one-fourth tsp
Haldi/ turmeric – one-fourth tsp
Oil – 2 tsp
Kitchen king masala/ garam masala – half tsp
1. Heat oil in a wok/ kadhai.
2. When oil is hot, add jeera, ajwain, haldi and grren chili pieces. Let these pop and sizzle for a minute.
3. Add the washed, chopped laukin pieces and mix. I wash the vegetables after I chop them, hence there is enough moisture. However, if your sabji is too dry, sprinkle some water.
4. Cook covered for 5 – 7 minutes.
5. Remove the cover and turn the pieces around. They should be half cooked. If not, sprinkle some more water and cook covered for another 5 minutes.
6. Add in the salt and mix. Next, add the tomato pieces and mix. Cover again and cook for another 5 minutes.
7. When you remove the cover, the sabji should look cooked and shiny. If not, cook without cover for another 2 minutes.
8. Mix in the sugar and garam masala.
9. Serve with rotis.