This Lauki ke Kofte recipe has bottle gourd kofta dunked in a delicious, spiced tomato-based gravy. The first time I tried Lauki Kofta was at my in-law’s place. I never knew that this type of a delish, tangy curry could be made with bottle gourd (opo squash, long melon or lauki, dudhi, ghia). The famous version Malai Kofta is what I was accustomed to.
About Lauki ke Kofte
Lauki, dudhi, ghia, bottle gourd or opo squash is used to make the koftas or fried dumplings in this Lauki ke Kofte recipe. These are steeped in a tangy, mildly spiced gravy with a tomato base. This vegan gravy is rich and laden with flavors.
I fell in love with the koftas after trying this Lauki Kofta for the first time. They were perfectly melt-in-mouth. The gravy had a nice tangy taste coming from the tomatoes.
My mom-in-law’s recipe does not have anything else in the curry paste, which is majorly made with tomatoes, onions, ginger and garlic. The tempering is of only cumin seeds.
I improvised on her recipe and turned it into a smoother and creamier version by adding cashews. The nuts add body to the gravy and enhance the taste.
There’s a good amount of prep work that goes in this curry. If everything is in place, it becomes easier.
For the dumplings part, I have made koftas which don’t absorb much of the gravy as they are not porous or very soft. You can add lauki pakoda or fritters. These will absorb the gravy, swell and can break as well.
The major difference between kofta and pakoda is the consistency of the mixture or batter. Kofta mixture is thick and pakoda batter has a pouring consistency. You can choose whatever’s feasible for you.
The Lauki ke Kofte is best enjoyed with roti, phulka, naan, parathas, roomali roti, jeera rice or even plain steamed rice.
How to make Lauki Kofta
1. Rinse, peel and grate 1 medium-sized lauki or bottle gourd. Measure the grated lauki and you will need 2 cups of these.
Squeeze the grated lauki and keep the juice. We will use this juice in the gravy.
Note: If the bottle gourd tastes bitter, then throw it away. So do a taste test before you peel and grate the lauki.
2. To the grated lauki, add the following ingredients:
- 4 tablespoons gram flour (besan)
- ¼ teaspoon garam masala powder
- ¼ teaspoon red chili powder
- 1 finely chopped green chili
- salt as required
3. Mix well and form small sized round or oval balls. Run a bit of oil in your palms when shaping the kofta.
If you add water to this mixture, you will get a pakoda batter. Drop spoonfuls of the batter in the oil to make pakoda. Remember to add less water to make the batter.
4. Heat oil in a kadai or frying pan for deep frying or shallow frying.
Gently place the lauki koftas in the hot oil. I first added just one to make sure if it breaks or does not break. You can opt to shallow fry or deep fry.
5. Fry koftas in oil, let all sides brown evenly turning over gently as needed. The first kofta which I added has already browned.
6. To absorb extra oil, drain fried lauki koftas on paper tissues.
Make Masala Paste and Sauté
7. In a blender or mixer-grinder, make a fine, smooth paste of the following ingredients:
- 2 large roughly chopped tomatoes
- 1 medium sized roughly chopped onion
- 1 chopped green chili or 1 teaspoon, chopped
- 1 inch chopped ginger or 1 teaspoon chopped ginger
- 4 to 5 chopped garlic cloves or 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
- 2 tablespoons broken cashews.
There is no need to any water while blending these ingredients.
8. Remove the extra oil from the same pan in which you fried the koftas. Keep around 2 tablespoons oil. Or you could opt to use 2 tablespoons of fresh oil.
Heat the oil in another pan or in the same pan. Fry 1 teaspoon cumin seeds first on a low heat until they splutter. Add the ground masala paste.
Be careful as the paste splutters. If there is too much spluttering, just cover the pan with a lid not covering fully. Allow some steam to escape.
The spluttering stops after the paste mixture thickens. Remove the lid. Keep stirring the masala at times.
Sauté for total of 8 to 10 minutes on medium-low heat after you add the masala paste to the pan.
Make Lauki Kofta Curry
9. After sautéing it for 8 to 10 minutes you will see that the masala paste thickens slightly. Now add all the dry ground spice powders listed below:
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ¼ or ½ teaspoon red chili powder or cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- ¼ or ½ teaspoon garam masala powder
10. Stir and cook the masala for 3 to 4 minutes or till it leaves oil. The masala will also thicken more and look glossy.
11. Add the lauki juice and 1 cup water or as required. Stir and simmer the gravy for 10 to 12 minutes more. Don’t cover the pan with a lid.
12. Once the simmering is complete and the curry has thickened a bit, season with salt and stir. If you like a sweet taste in your gravy, add sugar as required.
Add the fried koftas to the curry and serve Lauki Kofta hot with roti, naan, steamed basmati rice or jeera rice.
Expert Tips for Lauki Kofta
- Prep Ahead: The preparation for this recipe is time intensive. Keep the gravy base and kofta pre prepared. You can blend the masala paste a day in advance and refrigerate it.
If you are preparing this recipe on special occasions, you can make and shape the kofta mixture and refrigerate them to ease your work. Next day, you can just fry the koftas and finish the gravy.
- Batter Consistency: If you add water to the kofta mixture, you will get a batter consistency with which you can make lauki ke pakode. But remember to add some gram flour as well. Drop spoonfuls of the batter in the oil to make pakoda.
Also note that you can shallow fry or deep fry the koftas. Since these pakodas will be lighter and fluffy, they will end up absorbing all the curry/gravy if you dunk them in it. So serve these pakodas when you serve the gravy.
- Deep Frying: Fry the koftas in oil at the right temperature. The oil has to be hot enough for the kofta to come up gradually and swiftly. If the kofta remains at the bottom and comes up slowly, the oil is warm.
This will make your kofta absorb a lot of oil and it may fall apart. If the kofta comes up and browns too quickly, the oil is very hot. This will cook the kofta from outside and the inside will remain undercooked.
More Helpful Tips
- Sautéing Masala: The masala paste splutters. Be careful. If there is too much spluttering, cover the pan with a lid not covering fully. Allow some steam to escape. The spluttering stops after the mixture thickens.
- Curry Consistency: The Lauki Kofta gravy is usually smooth, creamy and slightly thick. You can keep the consistency slightly medium or medium-thick consistency too.
- Sweetness: Adjust the level of sweetness in the gravy by increasing or decreasing the sugar quantity.
- Adding Cream: You can garnish the Lauki Kofta with a tablespoon of heavy, whipping or two tablespoons of light cream. This will make the gravy richer.
- Make Ahead: Prepare the gravy and kofta and refrigerate them separately. Serve together. So heat the gravy in a pan. If the gravy is too thick, add a bit of hot water. Warm the kofta in a preheated oven at 120 degrees C (250 degrees F) for a few minutes.
You can use soaked almonds in place of cashews. If you want it nut free, you can use a little cream.
Lauki Kofta is best served with roti, paratha, naan or roomali roti. I also love serving it with phulka. If you are avoiding gluten, plain steamed basmati rice or jeera rice goes well with it.
Yes, you can surely do that. You can make the kofta and gravy and refrigerate them separately. Combine while serving.
Heat the gravy and if it is too thick, add some water. Koftas can be warmed in a preheated oven at 120 degrees C (250 degrees F) for a few minutes.
Yes, you can. You can also use sugar as per your palate.
You can garnish this Lauki Kofta with some cream at the end. This also turns the gravy richer.
History of Kofta Recipe
Primarily a spiced meatball, ‘kofta’ is believed to have a Turko-Persian lineage which dates back to the 11th century. The Persian word ‘kufta,’ meaning ‘to grind,’ is where the word ‘kofta’ comes from. Over the years, koftas became vegetarian and even vegan.
Some of the most primitive Arab cookbooks are said to have a mention of kofta recipes in them. According to food historians, the kofta reached India with the Mughals. The special Nargisi Kofta was served in the royal courts that time. The British Scotch Eggs are believed to be inspired by this particular Indian kofta dish.
Just like this Lauki Kofta and popular Malai Kofta, India has a fair share of regional and national variations in koftas. From different types of meats, vegetables, lentils/pulses used in the making to various shapes like round, cylinder or patties, the kofta has really come off age.
Apart from India and Turkey, kofta is famous in many other parts of the world under different monikers. They are a part of the traditional cuisines of Morocco, Romania, Greece, Georgia, Albania, Bulgaria, Armenia, etc. Some authentic versions are uncooked too.
Navratri & Fasting Recipes
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Lauki Kofta | Lauki ke Kofte
For making lauki kofta
- 2 cups bottle gourd – grated (lauki, dudhi, ghia or opo squash, long melon, calabash)
- 4 tablespoons gram flour (besan)
- ¼ teaspoon Garam Masala
- ¼ teaspoon red chili powder or cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon green chili – finely chopped or 1 green chili
- salt as required
- oil as required, for deep or shallow frying the kofta
For making masala paste
- 2 tomatoes – large-sized, roughly chopped
- 1 onion, – medium-sized, roughly chopped
- ½ to 1 teaspoon green chillies – chopped or 1 green chilli
- 1 teaspoon ginger – chopped or 1 inch peeled ginger
- 4 to 5 garlic cloves, – small to medium-sized, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons cashews – broken or roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- ¼ or ½ teaspoon red chili powder or cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder (ground turmeric)
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder (ground coriander)
- ¼ or ½ teaspoon Garam Masala
- 1 cup water or add as required
- 2 tablespoons oil – if using fresh oil
- salt as required
- ½ teaspoon sugar or add as required, optional
Making lauki kofta
- Rinse and peel the lauki (bottle gourd). Grate it. Measure and you should get 2 cups of grated lauki.Make sure to taste the bottle gourd before you peel and grate. It should not be bitter. If the lauki tastes bitter, trash it.
- Squeeze the grated lauki and collect the juice in a bowl or mug. Keep the juice aside.
- Mix all the ingredients, except oil, for making the koftas with the grated lauki.
- Make small round shaped balls or patties.
- Heat oil in a kadai or frying pan. Fry the lauki koftas in oil, till they are evenly golden browned from all sides.
- Drain the fried kofta on paper towels so that the extra oil is absorbed.
Making masala paste
- Blend all the ingredients mentioned under 'for making masala paste' without water to a smooth and fine paste.
- If needed add a bit of water, but don't add too much water as then the masala paste splutters while frying.
Making lauki kofta gravy
- Remove extra oil from the frying pan in which the koftas were fried. Keep about 2 tablespoons oil. Or you could opt to use 2 tablespoons of fresh oil.
- Heat the oil and fry the cumin seeds first on low heat until they splutter. Then, add the ground masala paste.
- Sauté for 8 to 10 minutes on medium-low heat stirring often. Then add all the ground spice powders.
- Stir and continue to sauté the masala paste till it starts leaving oil from the sides. The masala will also thicken and look glossy.
- Add the lauki juice and about 1 cup water or as needed to the sautéed masala paste.
- Stir and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes or until the curry thickens a bit. Lastly, add the fried koftas.
- Switch off the heat and let the koftas be in the gravy for a few minutes.
- Garnish with coriander leaves and serve Lauki Kofta hot with roti, naan or jeera rice.
- If you add water to the kofta mixture to make a pakoda like batter, then do add some gram flour as well.
- If you do make a lauki pakoda, then serve it only when serving the gravy. Do not add them in the gravy or curry as they will absorb all the curry. The pakoda being lighter and fluffy, absorbs the gravy.
- Do not use tomatoes which are very tangy or sour.
- You can add sugar in your gravy, if you like it sweet.
Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)
This Lauki ke Kofte post from the archives, first published in 2013 has been republished and updated on December 2022.