Lauki (bottle gourd) kofta

This North Indian dish is a rich gravy item with koftas or lauki pakoras swimming in the gravy. It is traditionally made by deep frying the koftas. Many health concious people would avoid it because of this. However, the recipe here is a healthy version of this dish as we bake the koftas using very little oil and so the deep frying is avoided.

Ingredients
For the kofta
Grated lauki – 2 cups
Gram flour – 3/4 cup
Coriander – 2 sprigs chopped
Ginger – 1 tsp grated
Red chilli powder – to taste
Baking soda – a pinch 
Salt – to taste

For the gravy
Onion- 1 large chopped
Garlic – 3 cloves chopped
Tomatoes – 3 chopped
Fennel seeds – 1 tsp
Oil – 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Garam masala – 3/4 tsp
Chat masala – 1/2 tsp
Kasuri methi – 1 tbsp crushed
Coriander – 1 spring chopped
Salt – to taste

Grate the gourd and add a tsp of salt, mix well and let it sit for half an hour. Squeeze out all the water from the lauki, add the gram flour, coriander, chilli powder and baking soda and mix well so you can roll small balls of kofta. Add salt, if needed. Line a baking tray with baking sheet and spread a thin film of oil. Place the koftas and smear a little bit of oil on each and bake at 200C for 20 – 25 mins till done. You will get about 20 koftas. Set aside.

Grind the onions, garlic, tomatoes and fennel seeds till you get a paste. Add oil to a kadai and fry the cumin seeds, then add the paste. Fry till the oil separates from the paste and add water as required to get a good gravy. I usually add the water I get after squeezing the lauki into this. I also add a tsp of wheat flour in some water when the gravy is done so it all comes together. Add turmeric powder and salt and cook gravy till done. To finish off, turn off the stove and add the garam masala, chopped coriander and crushed kasuri methi. Serve with hot chapatis. Serves 4-5

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