Lau Er Khosha Bhaja literary translates to Bottle Gourd Peel Stir Fry. It is a humble side dish, typically paired with steamed white rice and lentil stew. It might sound interesting for some, probably even bizarre for others, but for most Bengali’s, this is an everyday comfort food.
What is Lau Er Khosha Bhaja ?
Lau refers to bottle gourd, khosha refers to the peel and bhaja refers to stur fry in this case.
For the past several years since I left home, I have used bottle guard so many times in several different dishes. But I never used those peels. In the process of learning to cook, I forgot some of these simple dishes that I grew up eating.
Let's not forget that Peels are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, making them one of the most nutritious parts of a plant.
Bottle Gourd is a very commonly used vegetable in India but I highly doubt anybody knows that the peel is perfectly edible and nutritional.
Next time you make kofta with bottle gourd, save those peels and make this simple Lauer Khosha Bhaja as a side dish.
Ingrdients for Lauer Khosha Bhaja
The dish doesn’t call for heavy spices. Just some nigella seeds for that pungent kick along with some dry red chili and a couple of bay leaves.
The sun-dried lentil dumplings (daler bodi as we call in Bengali) are optional and my Mom mostly omits it but I like the texture it adds along with the earthy lentil aroma.
I do add a lot of these dumplings also because Arvind just loves them.
Simulatenously, you can omit these dumplings and just do a stir fry with thinly sliced onions.
FEW KEY POINTS TO KEEP IN MIND
This bottle gourd peel stir fry tastes good with bottle gourds those are tender. Sometimes depending on the size of the bottle gourd you buy, the peel might be more tough in texture.
In such case, you will have to boil the peel for longer before you stir fry it.
Occasionally, I find really tiny tender bottle gourd, and for those, I don't even feel the need to boil the peel seperately.
So, you need to make a call based on how tough the peels are.
HERE ARE FEW RECIPES YOU CAN TRY WITH BOTTLE GOURD
Lau Khosha Bhaja (Bottle Gourd Peel Stir Fry)
- 2 cups of bottle gourd peels
- 10-12 tiny dried lentil dumplings
- 1 dry red chili
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon nigella seeds
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ⅛ teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon oil
- Using a sharp knife, slice the peels very thinly, almost like matchsticks.
- Pour enough water in a medium saucepan to boil the sliced peels. Place the pan in medium high heat and when the water is hot enough, sprinkle half of the salt and drop the sliced peels. Boil for 5 minutes and then drain it on a colander.
- Place another pan in medium heat and pour the oil. When the oil is hot enough, drop the dried lentil dumplings and fry them until they turn golden brown. Take it off in a bowl and keep it aside to be used later.
- In the same pan, add the bay leaves, dry red chili and nigella seeds. Allow it to sizzle for a few seconds and then, drop the boiled peels. Sprinkle rest of the salt, turmeric and give it a stir. Cover the pan and allow it to simmer for 5 minutes. Then, take off the lid and stir it once. Cover the pan once again and cook for 3 more minutes.
- Take off the lid and drop the fried lentil dumplings. Pour ¼ cup of water into the pan. Cover and let it cook for 5 minutes. Then, sprinkle the sugar and give it a stir. Check for salt at this point and add any, if required. If you want to make it spicy, add some green chili or chili powder. Cook for another 2 minutes and its ready to serve.