Lauki or Dudhi or Ghia,- is also sold as Chinese Opo. The vegetable needs to be young and firm or it gets like a loofah. If this is not easy to source one may use zuchini.
I am not sure what about this unassuming vegetable makes it a favorite of Indians. It may be its simplicity and sweetness and its ability to soak in flavors. My mother is from Uttar Pradesh and this vegetable was cooked once a week in our home. It was served with dal, raita and with a selection of Indian pickles and flat bread.
1 lb. zucchini peeled and cubed
1 heaped tsp. grated ginger
1 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 fresh red or green chillies sliced
1 tbs. ghee (not oil)
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1/4 tsp. asafoetida or hing
1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
1 tsp. coriander powder
Salt and a bit of sugar to taste
1/2 cup chopped cilanro for a garnish
1. Heat oil in a wok or kadhai. Add cumin seeds and hing/ asafoetida powder and let it sizzile. Add ginger and fry for 15-20 seconds. Do not let it burn.
2. Add zucchini and the rest of the spices.
3. Stir coating the zucchini wioth the spices.
4. Add tomatoes, a few tabspoons of water, reduce heat and cook covered until tender. Mix in the cilantro leaves.
© Kavita Mehta
photo credit Kavita and Vinay Mehta