Friday, January 7, 2011

Bottle Gourd Curry

How do you make sure children are entertained these days?  If my children are not allowed to watch the TV, or to play on the computer or the ipod or any other electronic gadget they might have, how do I keep them busy?  They could spend a couple of hours reading as they both like reading, but you cannot expect an 8-year old and a 12-year old to be reading the whole day.  During school days it is all taken care of - they are at school for 8 hours and by the time they get home, they have to start on their assignments and the little time they have left, we spend watching some television or then just reading or talking or meeting old friends.  But during vacations, and especially when it is cold and snowing outside, how to keep them busy?  

We have some puzzle  games from the Thinkfun series and we suggested to them that perhaps they could start playing these again.  These used to play them a lot before, but they lose interest in their old games and so you need to renew that interest in them again.  My children could sit and play with these for hours together.  Then we also ordered some Meccano sets which is a good way to keep them occupied and also to use their imagination.  My son also expressed a desire to program games and so he has agreed to start learning JavaScript.  I am happy to say that yesterday there was no mention of being “bored” and they spent their day reading and playing with the games we got them.  In the evenings, they help me with the cooking and that is something else they both enjoy doing.  So I am happy to say bye to the TV and computer for the next few weeks.

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 6


4 cups bottle gourd, peeled and diced into cubes
2 tablespoons jaggery powder
2 tablespoons tamarind pulp
Salt to taste
4 cups water
Grind to a coarse paste:
4 tablespoons fresh coconut gratings
4 teaspoons mustard seeds
2 tablespoons roasted Bengal Gram Dal
½ teaspoon asafoetida
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
3 red chillies
 For the Seasoning:
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
A sprig of curry leaves

  1. Boil the four cups of water and add the bottle gourd to it.  
  2. Let it boil on low flame for 15 minutes or until the pieces are tender.  
  3. Drain all but ½ a cup of the water and now add the cooked bottle gourd pieces and water to the vessel along with the jaggery and tamarind pulp.  Simmer for 3 minutes.  
  4. Now add the ground paste and simmer for 10 minutes on low flame.  
  5. In a separate vessel heat the oil and when it is hot, add the cumin seeds and curry leaves.  
  6. Pour this mixture over the bottle gourd curry and serve hot with rice or chappatis.

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