Thursday, September 12, 2013

Snake Gourd With A Cheesy Filling


Another summer vegetable that floods our markets is the snake gourd. In taste it is somewhat similar to the sponge gourd. The flesh is mucilaginous and apart from the fruit, the tender leaves and shoots are eaten as well. There are numerous ways of cooking this vegetable. The other day I cooked them with a cheese filling.

I used two snake gourds weighing approximately 500 grams. After washing and patting them dry they were cut into three pieces each. The ends were chopped off too. Then with a  spoon handle, the flesh was removed. The flesh can be used for the stuffing too but in this case I kept them in the fridge to be included in another vegetable this later. A touch of salt went into the innards and they were left alone for ten minutes or so. Then I rinsed the salt out, patted them dry and into the oven they went till they started to wilt a bit. Took about twenty minutes in a moderate oven.

For the filling:
400 grams paneer/Indian cottage cheese
2 boiled and coarsely mashed potatoes
1 large onion, finely chopped
A quarter teaspoon of garlic and ginger pastes
Chilli powder to taste
Salt
Half a teaspoon each of cumin and coriander powder
Oil
About fifteen raisins, soaked and chopped up
About ten cashew nuts, chopped into bits

Crumble the cheese and keep aside. Heat oil in a pan and when it is hot enough, fry the onion till translucent. Then add all the spices and keep stirring. Once the raw smell goes off, add the potatoes, the raisins and the nuts. The cheese goes in last. Mix well, check the seasoning and adjust accordingly. Remove and let the mixture cool.
When the mixture cools down, take the partly done vegetable and stuff them with the cheese/potato mixture. Then put them back in the oven on a well-greased tray and cook till tender.

The gravy:
2 onions, finely grated
About 3 tablespoons tomato puree
A quarter teaspoon of garlic and ginger paste
A bit of turmeric powder
Salt to taste
Chilli powder
A tablespoon of cashewnut paste
A teaspoon of garam masala
Hot water

Heat oil in a pan then fry the onions in it. Add all the spices as soon as the onion changes colour. Then add the tomato puree and keep cooking till the mixture comes together. Add the cashew nut paste and mix well. Pour about a cup of water and cook till the gravy thickens. Gently add the (baked) stuffed vegetables to the gravy. Keep the flame low and cook for ten minutes or so turning the vegetable once in between. Before serving you can add chopped coriander or a few dollops of curd. The gourds can be cut into required pieces before serving. Goes well with either rice or roti.


I couldn't resist including this picture of the blooms of the snake gourd. So delicate and so pretty.
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