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D is for dudhi

"Dudhi, dudhi, dudhi, dudhi - ah-ah-ahh-ahh-ah-ahhhhhhh" is what coes into my head any time I say or write the word dudhi. Just me? 

(If you've no idea what I'm talking about, this video will help.)

I've never cooked with a dudhi (or lauki, or bottle gourd, as it's also called) before, nor have I eaten one, so this was a proper step into the culinary unknown.

While you can find dudhi with some ease (in my local Tesco in a craphole corner of London, for example) it's not something you see commonly on menus over here, even on ones in Indian or Asian restaurants - the region this veggie hails from. (Wikipedia reckons it's grown in Europe too, but not in any bit I've ever been too.)

My hopes weren't raised when most of my Googling turned up recipes that said dudhi was for children or sick people, because of its mild taste and texture. Was that another way of saying bland, then?

Turns out, yes, that's exactly what it is - the dudhi has sod all taste of its own, as I was discover when I first cooked this recipe for a sweet and sour version of the vegetable. (Not sweet and sour in the Chinese sense, mind - just with lemon juice and sugar.)

But does that mean that it was a waste of time? Not at all. 

Turns out it's a great base to paste a load of flavours over the top of - in this case, cumin, asofetida (which I can't get enough of), turmeric and chilli and the texture is a nice pitch between 'squishy' and 'still having a bit of bite'.

My Wikipedia foraging also turned up that dudhi is used in Chinese cooking and Bangladeshi and Moroccan and Italian and half a dozen other cuisines. It's one well travelled veggie, in short. I suspect it'll be travelling from the local supermarket to my kitchen again in the none too distant...

(Interesting side note: I took a bit of the leftover rice and dudhi into work and reheated it in the microwave, and found it totally changed the texture of the dudhi, making a lot more chewy....) 

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  1. I haven't ever heard of dudhi or any of the other names for it but it's great that it makes a good base for strong flavoured meals!

  2. ahh, bottle gourd. Unique eh? Go to India (or, actually Tooting or Algate) and you can play around with a whole bunch more strange and exotic veg; try karela or tindli next..

  3. I've heard of bottle gourd in Indian curries but when I first saw you call it dudhi I thought you had stumped me again! It appears that you put it to good use in your meal which looks lovely.

  4. I'v never heard of dudhi but I tell you it could use a little song to go with the name. Your meal looks good.

  5. Children or sick people, ha ha ha! I just googled dudhi to see what they look like, and I see these things at the supermarket here all the time, but never knew what they were. Neato! Are they kinda like zucchini then?

  6. Really interesting -- I've never heard of dudhi!! A new vegetable, how exciting :) It looks nice!

  7. Another one on the hasn't heard of it before, but it looks interesting!


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