Ah, the humble khadu. Sometimes known as doodhi or laukhi, this bottle gourd vegetable is now widely available in a lot of supermarkets in the UK. There are apparently lots of health benefits associated with doodhi too, from helping with digestion and weight loss to helping with stress relief. According to online sources, duudhi tastes great in desserts such as halwa, however, I bring you a recipe today using this vegetable in a curry. Typically, in Bangladeshi home cooking, khadu may be cooked either with fish or chicken. When it is cooked with fish, it is often cooked with less chilli. My preferred version however is in a spicy curry with chicken.
It is also around this time of year that many Bangladeshis in the UK attempt to grow khadus in their own gardens. It’s no easy feat considering the obvious difference in climate between the UK and Bangladesh. Even for the most seasoned of gardeners, growing a khadu takes dedication and and a good dose of coaxing. And in the end, you might only just end up with the one or two khadus, if even that. Yet, despite the odds, you get some people who will try to grow these vegetables year in and year out. If that doesn’t show a love for vegetables, I don’t know what does.
To prepare the khadu, you must first remove the outer green peel. You could do this with a vegetable peeler or a knife, but these days I like to do it using a traditional Bangladeshi sickle shaped knife called a da which you kind of crouch down over on the ground, allowing you to use both of your hands to hold the food item (remind me to blog about this strange but highly precise tool at a later date).
Once peeled, you need to cut the khadu in half lengthways. Then you can scoop out the seeds using a spoon. Once scooped out, roughly dice the khadu into big chunks.
Khadu as a stand alone vegetable doesn’t really have a lot of taste to it, but it takes spice well and as such it makes a great accompaniment to the chicken in this curry. Some of my family members prefer this dish with minimum amounts of chilli so that they can enjoy the taste of the khadu more, as such I would recommend trying out the recipe and varying the amount of chilli powder according to your own taste. So if you like the flavour of South Asian curries but can’t always tolerate the heat, then try this recipe out.
Chicken with Bottle Gourd Curry
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes – 1 hour
by Abida at The Red Lychee
1 Medium sized onion, sliced.
4 cloves of garlic, grated
2 inch piece of ginger, grated
5/6 tablespoons oil
1/2 tsp salt
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick, snapped into 3 pieces
4 green cardamoms
1 kg chicken, cut into about 10-12 pieces
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 chilli powder (depends on individual taste)
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1 bottle gourd/khadu, peeled, deseeded and chopped into chunks
Salt to season
Corriander to garnish
1) Add oil to pan and wait for it to heat up.
2) Add the minced garlic. Wait for garlic to turn golden, then add your onions and minced ginger.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt to help onion soften. Then add cinnamon, cardamom and bay leaves.
3) Wait for onions to soften then add chilli powder, turmeric, curry powder and cumin. Allow spices to cook off on a medium heat. Stir and add a few tablespoons of water if it catches the pan.
4) Then add chicken. Stir to coat in sauce. Cover and leave to cook on a medium to high heat for about 10 minutes so that all the water comes out of the chicken.
5) After a few minutes, add the khadu. Leave khadu to soften with the lid on.
6) Add about a cup and a half of water, enough to cover the chicken. Cover and leave to bubble on a medium to high heat until the khadu is soft and cooked through.
7) Season with salt to taste. Garnish with coriander and serve with plain rice or bread