Bottle gourd (‘lauki’ in Hindi and ‘sorakkai’ in Tamil) is consumed practically by every household in the country. It is yellowish-green in colour and shaped like a bottle; its pulp is white with a spongy flesh. It is a good source of carbohydrates, Vitamins A and C, and minerals. These vitamins help strengthen the immune system and keep away diseases. The vegetable contains 96.1 per cent of water, about 12 kcal and is high in fibre.

Bottle gourd has several health benefits. It is a useful weight-loss diet because of its high water and fibre content. It is also low in calories and fat. Water retention is a problem seen in many overweight people. Lauki is a natural diuretic and hence, beneficial for those who have water retention. It is easy to digest and is believed to have a cooling effect. Bottle gourd is useful in treating urinary disorders. The vegetable helps treat liver inflammation. So it can be used in treating jaundice too. Being fibre-rich, bottle gourd helps prevent constipation and other digestive disorders such as flatulence and piles. Again being high in fibre and low in calories and fats, it can be consumed by diabetics and heart patients.

Now, for a recipe.

Bottle Gourd Halwa

Ingredients

Grated bottle gourd: 500 gm

Almonds (sliced): 6 nos.

Cardamom (powdered): 2 nos.

Cashewnuts: 5 nos.

Ghee: 80 ml

Khoya: 80 gm

Milk: 500 ml

Raisins: 10 nos.

Sugar: 100 gm

Method: Peel and grate the bottle gourd. Put the ghee, cashewnuts, almonds and raisins in a pan. Stir well over a low flame till the nuts change colour, then add the grated bottle gourd and mix it. Let it cook for 5 to 10 minutes and keep mixing it. Then add milk and stir the mixture.

If colour is desired, add green colour and keep mixing.

Now add sugar to it and mix; then add the khoya; keep mixing for five minutes and the halwa is ready.

Executive Sous Chef

Taj Club House

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