Bottle gourd is a cucurbitaceous veggie that falls along with other gourds and melons. Dearly called as lauki, doodhi, giya, sorakkai in various parts of India, bottle gourd is blessed with an accountable number of health benefits. If we could maintain health by making recipes from one of the most popular veggies in India, why not use it often? Of all the major cuisines across India, people have found artful ways of whipping up various course of meals from the same vegetable.
There are recipes that are done with only its spongy pulp and which use the whole lauki along with skin and tender seeds. The seeds within are crunchy and taste great specially when the lauki is fresh and not over ripe. Ripened lauki are very fibrous and gradually become inedible due to the fibre like sponge. The best test of edibility is either selecting the greener and tender looking bottle gourds, to look for any discolouration at its stalk, or to break it to find less or no fibrous texture beneath the skin.
Health benefits of Lauki/doodhi
- Lauki or bottle gourd has only about 5 calories and 1 gram fat per 100 grams and is hence a light food for body and heart. This is ideal ingredient for diabetic diet and low-cholesterol diet.
- Lauki is very high in fibre. Being high in soluble and insoluble dietary fibres makes it a great food to ease constipation and flatulence.
- Lauki juice is proven to be beneficial in weight loss if drank on an empty stomach in the morning and keep you nourished and curb over-eating.
- Micronutrients like magnesium, manganese, iron, and vitamin C, vitamin B (riboflavin and thiamine) required for normal functioning of the body is supplied by the bottle gourd.
- Since lauki is high in water content, it quenches thirst and is a coolant food during summers.
- Trace elements of sodium, potassium helps in maintaining the blood pressure and healthy heart.
- Bottle gourd also eases the pressure on liver during the process of digestion and hence is comforting and balancing food even for people with moderate digestive capacity.
- Lauki juice is found beneficial in calming the urinary infections, aiding in weight loss and delaying graying of hair.
Here are the recipes to make with bottle gourd, that is taken from various cuisines and cooking styles.
Lauki can be made into dumplings, grated, boiled, mashed or grilled to suit the recipe. Here are a few side dish recipes that you can try on weekdays for dinner or lunch boxes.
Dosas & Flatbreads
Lauki can be used by grating on the theplas or parathas or by mixing into the crepe/dosa batter. These recipes are particularly useful if the kids or adults in the family are picky eaters and tend to eat lesser vegetables.
There's another scope of including lauki and yummy sweet desserts. Here are ideas to make burfi, halwa and kheer from bottle gourd. Though the sweet ingredient added makes it not the best for diabetic diet, you can indulge in these recipes during weekend or great for get togethers or special occasions.
Juice & Smoothie
Like we read in the article, lauki juice is beneficial to health in many ways. Try combining the lauki juice with ingredients like carrots or other greens such that you reap the benefits of bottle gourd in smoothies. Once a week if we include it in our daily smoothies, it could be beneficial.