I’m passionate about food, but before Devansh was born the passion was more for eating than cooking. Then I got interested in cooking, well cooking for Devansh that is. (OK I don’t know how to add a sheepish smiley. :-)) Initially I used to cook all meals for Devansh. Then as he grew older and started having sabzi-roti, I started feeding him the same lunch as us. My cook, Prema maushi, makes our lunch. After Devansh’s preschool started, not having to cook lunch for Devansh was a real relief. Because I’m busiest around that time, as I’m ferrying Devansh to-fro from his school. Prema maushi usually comes to my place at 1 PM; Devansh comes from playschool by 1:30. He needs at least half an hour to himself so that he can do all the masti possible, doing all the things that toddlers love to do to ensure people don’t forget there’s a mini-tornado at home. Then by 2 or so Devansh and I have our lunch. A couple of weeks back, just a little before 1 as I was taking the vegetables out of the fridge for Prema maushi to cook, I remembered she wasn’t going to come in that day. I had to leave at 1 to pick up Devansh, so there wasn’t enough time to even chop the vegetables. I was in a state of panic as I left to pick up Devansh.
When I came home at 1:30, I headed straight to kitchen and the first thing I did was take out my dabba of mashed vegetables from the freezer. I cannot recount the number of times these mashed veggies have come to my rescue. I chopped lauki, cooked it in the pressure cooker as that takes shortest possible cooking time, added mashed vegetables, salt, garam masala and my sabzi was ready in 15 minutes….PHEW… While the cooker was whistling away to glory I made two phulkas (chapatis) for Devansh. The previous day, we had forgotten to eat a pressure-cooked beetroot. I took that out of the fridge, cut it in slices, and by 2 Devansh’s lunch was ready, with no compromise on the usual roti-sabzi-salad combination. So after giving myself a pat on the back (I deserved that after all the chiding I got from myself for forgetting my cook’s leave), I called my husband to click snaps of my culinary achievement. :p Luckily he was working from home that day. Devansh is used to sweet sabzis, that have a little jaggery added to them. I was taking a risk by giving him a spicy (just a tad bit) sabzi. But to my relief, he liked this sabzi. So next time my cook decides to take a leave, I know what to cook. Hopefully, I’ll remember her leave much ahead of time. 😉
Toddler- and kid-friendly recipe of lauki ki sabzi made using bottle gourd and assorted, mashed vegetables.
- 1 cup peeled and chopped lauki (bottle gourd)
- 4-5 tbsp (cooked) mashed vegetables
- Half tsp jeera (cumin seeds)
- 1/5th tsp haldi (turmeric powder)
- 1/5th tsp hing (asafoetida)
- 1/5th tsp garam masala powder
- 1 tbsp homemade ghee
- Heat a small pressure cooker, and then add ghee.
- Add jeera, and when jeera splutters, add hing and haldi. (I know a lot of women add haldi after adding sabzi instead of adding it in the tadka. They say it's to prevent the haldi from getting burnt. But I'm used to making the tadka this way. I do add the sabzi immediately after adding haldi though.)
- Add chopped lauki and stir it properly. Since I used pre-cooked vegetables I didn't add them at this stage but if you want to use freshly chopped vegetables, add them along with lauki. In my mixture of mashed vegetables I had tomato, carrot, cabbage, cauliflower, red pumpkin, and lauki again. 🙂
- Add half to three-fourth cup water, depending on the desired consistency of the sabzi. (Add more water if you want to serve this sabzi with rice.)
- Cover the pressure cooker with its lid and cook on medium-low heat for about 8-10 minutes (3-4 whistles).
- Take off the lid after 3-4 whistles, and then add mashed vegetables and mix them properly with the cooked lauki.
- Add salt and garam masala powder, and cook for a couple of minutes. (Now I must confess I used readymade garam masala powder. I didn't use readymade ingredients in Devansh's food until recently. But I'm being a tad bit easy going about readymade stuff now that he's 2.5 years old. But it's best to use homemade masala, especially if you're cooking for younger kids.)
- Add chopped coriander and cook for a minute more. (Coriander is better eaten raw than cooked but most toddlers find it difficult to chew coriander. So it's better to cook it a bit to make it slightly soggy.)
- Serve hot with chapatis or rice.