Deliciously Healthy Bottle Gourd (Dudhi) Subzi

Today’s recipe is for two wonderful friends – one gave me the recipe, and the other wants to cook it.

Now I love most types of squash, but I had rarely ever cooked with the bottle gourd (dudhi or lauki), a delicious variety of squash that’s very popular in Indian cooking. Even when I found an Asian supermarket in my area that sold it, I just wasn’t motivated enough to pick it up, take it home, and cook it.

Enter Navami, my intrepid social worker friend who, while staying with us for a weekend, told me about the bottle gourd’s amazing health properties. According to Ayurveda, the ancient Indian science of holistic healing, bottle gourd is a diuretic, is great for your digestive system, and even has cholesterol-lowering properties. Being a sucker for anything that’s supposed to be good for me (I know it sounds weird, but that’s just me!) I dragged Navami to the Asian supermarket and, under her eagle eye, picked up a beautifully pale-green bottle gourd.

Next came the prep- Navami passed on to me her family’s simple but delicious recipe, which I tweaked just slightly to suit my family’s tastes. It was so tasty, I couldn’t resist buying the bottle gourd each time I went to the Asian store.

This is where my other friend, Sharon, comes in. Sharon is a fearless reporter at a newspaper where I once worked myself. She travels regularly to Iraq and other parts of the world, digging up amazing stories. Sharon loves Goan food, and dreams of writing a cookbook about cuisine from that part of the world some day.

Anyway, Sharon and I went to the Indian store this past weekend, and I had a blast explaining to her the role of various spices, condiments and ingredients used in Indian cooking. Being a Sunday evening, we had slim pickings when it came to the fresh produce section, but Sharon seemed intrigued by the bottle gourd.

I promised at the time to send her the recipe, so here it is. It takes minutes to put together, and is utterly delicious eaten with some rice and lentils or just a chapati or two.

Dudhi or Bottle Gourd Subzi


1 medium bottle gourd, chopped in a 1-cm dice

1 tbsp canola oil

1 tbsp chana dal or bengal gram, soaked for about 30 minutes in warm water, then drained thoroughly

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp chili powder

Salt to taste

1/4 cup grated coconut, for garnish

1 tbsp grated jaggery (optional)

Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the mustard and cumin seeds and wait until they sputter.

Add the chana dal and stir for a minute.

Add the turmeric and chili powder and stir quickly. (Make sure you ventilate the kitchen because the fumes from this this can cause some coughing and eye-watering)

Immediately add the chopped bottle gourd pieces and stir to coat with the oil and spices.

Add salt to taste and stir.

Add about 1/2 cup of water to the saucepan. Cover and let it cook, stirring occasionally, about 25-30 minutes or until the gourd is really tender.

Add the jaggery, if using, and stir in.

Garnish with coconut.

Serve hot!

(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

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  1. says

    Hello, my name is Faith and I have a couple of questions for you.

    First of all, I saw that you blog has a similar interest to my new non-profit website located at I was wondering it you would do a link exchange with me – I will put a link to your blog in my links list on the Someone Who Cares Blog if you will put a link to either our blog or our website. Our blog is located at:

    I was also wondering if I could put some of your recipes on the website. You would be given full credit and you can tell me which recipes you would like to go on the site. The site is all user generated content, and I really like the idea of your recipes.

    Thank you for your time,
    Faith Autumn Reign
    Someone Who Cares Founder

  2. says

    Hi Vaishali,

    We eat bottle gourd regularly in my mom’s house, but my hubby is not too fond of it. So either i make it with chana or make koftas or paranthas ut of it. But ur recipe looks delicious. I have doodhi at home. will make this .

  3. says

    I was thinking about putting a vegetarian and vegan recipes section in the animal rights section of my website. I myself have been a vegetarian for ten years, one of our members has been a vegan for twelve years, and the two other people who work on the site with me have been vegetarians for one year. I thought it would be awesome to help other people with the transitition if they so choose to join us in boycotting the senseless killing of animals. I noticed that you had some really good vegetarian recipes that made my mouth water, and the thought of including that section came back to me.

    Thank you so much for responding to my comment!

    Faith Autumn Reign
    Someone Who Cares Founder

  4. says

    Lucy is now March’s Rescued Pet of the Month.

    I had to omit a couple of paragraphs and sentences from your blog for two reasons – any mention of the blog shows you wrote it for your blog and not the site and the blog was a little long. Let me know if I deleted any text that you really would prefer be on there.

    The link to the page that Lucy appears on is:

    Thank you again, and do you mind if I use your other rescued animals in our rescued pet of the month?

    Faith Autumn Reign
    Someone Who Cares Founder

  5. says

    hi Vaishali, I tried this subzi and it turned out sooooo tasty, thank you so much for sharing the recipe! This is such a quick to make rcp for weekday cooking, no chopping of onion/tom 😉
    thanks again for a keeper rcp!

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