Literally translated as Lauki/ Bottle Gourd/ Dudhi/ Ghiya cooked with milk, a Bengali specialty for summers.
Bengalis have a knack of combining the strangest of ingredients and coming up with something very exotic. If you are craving for something extremely natural in taste, try making the Dudh Diye Lau.
One person who couldn't be happier about the fact that I am eating my vegetables is my Mum. My Mother used to make this dish at least once a week all through the summers of our our growing up years in India. How I hated it then!
She’d say, “pet thanda thakbe”, your tummy will remain cool. Bottle gourd or lauki/lau has many health benefits including a cooling effect due to its high water content.
And that’s how the lau in this recipe is cooked, in its own water!
Ingredients for Dudh Diye Lau are:
1 good looking Bottle Gourd/ Lauki/ Lau about 500 grams
Half teaspoon yellow mustard powder/ ground to a paste
Half teaspoon whole yellow mustard seeds
2-3 green chilies, broken from the center
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour/ maida
Half cup milk
2 tablespoons desi ghee
Wash the whole bottle gourd and peel the skin. Cut small sections of the gourd and then chop each very finely.
In a wok or sauté pan, heat ghee and toss in the yellow mustard seeds, green chilies and the bay leaves. Let the mustard seeds splutter and change color to a darker hue.
Now add the finely chopped gourd. Add the powdered mustard seeds, salt and sugar. Cover and cook till the gourd is done by not mushy.
The salt will do its trick on the bottle gourd and it will release a lot of water. Let the gourd/ lauki cook in its own juices.
Mix well and lower the heat. Let the maida and milk mixture get absorbed by the vegetable. The consistency at the end should be thick and not runny. The Dudh Diye Lau should also have a balance of salt and sweet, so check the seasoning at the end. You may add a wee little ghee to finish it off.
The Dudh Diye Lau is usually made for lunch and served with rice as a first course, sometimes second only to some uchche bhaja (fried bitter gourd).