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Recipe: Lauki Paneer Kofta Curry

October 27, 2023 12:40 IST
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Mention lauki, brinjal, tinda, tendli or tondli and it instantly draws a certain unpleasant reaction from people.

Obviously, we are talking about the majority of folks who would easily add some of these vegetables to their long list of avoidable sabzis in daily cooking.

I used to do the same when I was a kid.

Now as a mother of a picky six year old, my challenge is to find new ways to incorporate some of these unpopular veggies into his daily diet.

For this particular recipe, which I call Lauki Paneer Kofta, I have tried to blend lauki or bottle gourd with paneer that my son loves, to create a kofta curry that can be relished with rice and rotis.

 Lauki Paneer Kofta

IMAGE: Lauki Paneer Kofta is a good match with naans, parathas or phulkas, but it also tastes lovely with steamed rice.
Photograph: Divya Nair

Lauki Paneer Kofta

Serves: 3-4


For the kofta

  • 2 cups grated lauki or doodhi or bottle gourd
  • 1½ cup crumbled paneer or cottage cheese
  • 1½ cup besan or gram flour or chickpea flour
  • 1 tsp jeera or cumin powder
  • 1 tsp dhania or coriander powder
  • 1 tsp red chilly powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper powder
  • 1 tsp haldi or turmeric powder
  • Salt as per taste, around 1 tsp
  • Oil for deep frying

For the gravy

  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tomato, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp roasted chana dal
  • 4-5 cashews
  • 2 tbsp ghee/oil + 2 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tej patta or bay leaf
  • 1 chakra phool or star anise
  • 1 tsp shah jeera or black cumin
  • 1 tsp jeera or cumin powder
  • 1 tsp dhania or coriander powder
  • 1 tsp red chilly powder
  • 1 tsp haldi or turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp kasuri methi or dry fenugreek leaves
  • Strained juice of the lauki
  • Salt as per taste, around 1 tsp
  • 1 cup water


For the kofta

  • Squeeze and drain all water from the grated lauki and transfer the pulp into a bowl.
    Do not throw the water away -- it can be used later to prepare the gravy.
    Add the grated paneer to the lauki.
    Add all the dry masalas, cumin seeds and mix well.
    Add the besan, in batches, and mix to avoid any lumps.
    Add the salt and knead to a semi-stiff dough.
  • Heat the oil in a kadhai or frying pan.
  • Divide the dough into 8-10 portions.
    Using your hands, roll them into approximately small 2-cm diameter balls.
  • Fry the koftas in batches of 2-3, over medium heat for 3-5 minutes.
    Keep flipping so they fry evenly.
    Once golden brown, drain onto paper towel or tissue-lined plate.
    Keep aside.

For the gravy

  • Heat two tbsp ghee/oil in a kadhai or saucepan.
    Add the roasted chana.
    Saute for a minute.
    Add the cashews.
    Saute for a minute till golden.
    Add the sliced onions.
    Saute over medium heat till translucent.
    Add the sliced tomato.
    Saute for three minutes till cooked.
    When it cools down, transfer to a blender and grind this mixture to a paste.
  • Heat a kadhai or saucepan.
    Add 2 tbsp ghee.
    Add the shah jeera, bay leaf and the star anise.
    Saute for a few seconds.
    Add the cumin powder, coriander powder, red chilly powder, turmeric.
    Saute for a minute.
    Lower the heat and add the ground mixture.
    Mix well.
    Add the strained juice of the lauki, 1 cup water and mix well.
    Add the salt and cook over low to medium heat for 5 minutes.
    Add the kasuri methi and cook for another minute more.
  • Before serving, heat the gravy for a minute and gently drop the koftas in it.
    If you add the koftas earlier they will turn soggy.
  • Serve hot with steamed rice, naans, parathas or phulkas.

Editor's Note: For Jain Lauki Paneer Koftas, skip the onions.

For vegan koftas, skip the paneer and reduce the besan to less than a cup.

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