May 9, 2014

Lauki Biriyani (BottleGourd Biriyani)

Lauki or Bottlegourd is a quite an under-used veggie in my household. We eat it not because we really like it, but just for the nutrition it might give our bodies and b'coz its just one of the few other indian veggies we get in the indian stores here. And I'm not at all a fan of buying frozen veggies when you can buy fresh ones unless they are not at all available fresh. 

I very clearly remember the time I first tasted lauki, it was after my dad was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. His blood sugar was just a little off the normal range but that was enough to shake up my mom who was a nurse btw. They both went and met with her hospital dietician and decided on menu plans etc and wanting to make sure his sugar level never goes beyond the normal range she put him and apparently the family included on a strict diet that included sprouted legumes, lots of bitter gourd, whole grains, very less rice, more salads and yes, lauki :-P 

Dal with Lauki was one of the dishes mummy started making where she cut down on salt and oil, even the spices so I must say it wasn't a very tasty first try with Lauki. It had a very mild almost cucumber like taste and did not really appeal to us much. Although daddy's diabetes improved a lot with the diet, our tastebuds never liked Lauki.
To be honest I don't think daddy enjoyed the dal curry much either so he named it 'Kooshmandam Curry'. I have no idea how the term kooshmanadam and lauki are related b'coz the malayalam term for lauki is Churakka, but me & my sis loved the term and used it to tease the veggie and the dish mummy made which was our least favorite! **naughty daddy n his girls** ;-)

It's very recently that I came to know that you can make so many different varieites of dishes with lauki like halwa, kofta, dry subji, paratha, pickles, even lauki juice etc etc. Lauki is very very nutritious and a filling veggie specially for people watching their diets. I have made few of these dishes and they were really good. 

Now last week I came home from work tempted to eat biriyani and had my mind stuck to it so I went ahead anyways. I had no time to defrost the chicken and there was no other veggie in my fridge other than lauki...So Lauki Biriyani was born :-P And until I made this biriyani, I never knew you could make Lauki Biriyani either, so it was a pure experiment and a tasty one at that!

I made it the same way I make my Chicken Biriyani but instead of cooking the masala and rice separately and layering them, I cooked it all together, almost like a Pulav, so mayb you can call this dish a Pulav Biriyani...hehe! 
A one pot meal in no time with no compromise on flavor. The whole dish was ready in perhaps an hour and in time to feed my hungry lil'Appu who really was hungry I must say, coz he ate up the whole plate I served him with some yogurt though he complained it was spicy, but ate it nevertheless :-)

LAUKI (Bottlegourd) BIRIYANI
Recipe Serves - 4 

You'll Need

Lauki (Bottlegourd) - 1 medium sized
Red Onion, chopped finely - 1 large
Ginger-Garlic paste - 1 Tblsp
Cinnamon sticks - 2
Green Cardamom - 3
Cloves - 3
Black Pepper - 5-6
Star Anise - 1
Bay leaves - 1
Canola Oil / Olive Oil - 2 Tblsp
Grind together:
Tomato - 1 large or 2 medium
Cilantro leaves - a handfull
Mint leaves - a handfull
Green chillies - 2 or 3
Yogurt - ½ cup
Masala powders:
Red chilli powder - 1 or 2 tsp
Turmeric powder - ½ tsp
Biriyani masala powder - 1 or 2 tsp (optional)
Corriander powder - 2 tsp
Garam masala - 1 tsp
For the rice:
Basmati Rice (soaked in water for ½ hour) - 2 cups
Water - 4 cups
Salt - to taste

1. Start by washing and then soaking 2 cups of Basmati rice in cold water for half an hour.
2. Wash the Lauki, remove any seeds and chop into bite sized cubes with skin on.
3. Grind together - tomato, mint,cilantro leaves, green chillies and yogurt into a fine paste.
4. In a large pan heat the oil and add the whole spices (Cinnamon sticks,Green Cardamom,Cloves,Black Pepper,Star Anise) and saute until you smell the lovely aroma.
5. Then add ginger-garlic paste and red onions. Add a pinch of salt and let the onions cook until soft.
6. Then add masala powders - Red chilli, turmeric, coriander powder, garam masala and biriyani masala and mix well on medium heat.
7. Add the Lauki, give it a stir and lower the heat and slowly add the tomato-yogurt paste and cook it on low heat until well combined.
8. Increase the heat to medium-high and keep cooking until the gravy thickens or reduces (almost 10-15 mins).
9. Drain the rice and add it to the lauki masala and stir gently.
10. Add 4 cups water, season with salt, stir well and cook it on high flame until the water starts bubbling. Then cover with a lid, reduce heat to medium and cook for 12-15 mins. The rice should be well cooked by this time.
11. Turn off the heat and let the rice rest for few mins before serving.

** As the biriyani is spicy, its best served with some cool yogurt or raita!

1. You can also grate the lauki, squeeze out the water and use the water in the biriyani while cooking and add the grated lauki if you prefer.
2. Try to reduce/thicken the gravy as much as possible (in step 8) else when you add water to cook the rice the liquid quantity might be too much, or else reduce water to 3½ cups.
3. If you want to be elaborate, you can garnish the biriyani with fried onions and/or cashew nuts-raisins etc.

The biriyani was superb...spicy and flavorful and the chunky bites of lauki were seasoned with all the spices and it was quite a treat! The skin of the lauki also becomes soft after its cooked. Manish had never tasted lauki biriyani either and he was quite surprised how well it came out... 

It's a quick fix meal, so do try it out and don't forget to share your experience with me :-) 

Oh! and this Sunday is Mother's wishing all the lovely mom's out there a very Happy Mother's Day!!  If it wasn't for my mom I would have never eaten lauki and in turn would have never tried making a biriyani out of it...So this dish is for you Mummy...Muah!! Will make it for you when we come to India next time...hehe!



  1. Love the combination, looks delicious

  2. Yummy and drool worthy biriyani.......I too remember this bottle guard whenever I thnk of my mom for the same reason as ur dad............. :)

  3. Lauki biriyani looks absolutely delicious. Healthy and delicious!

  4. Lauki in biryani, unheard of. Interesting combo, a sure try after seeing your click.

  5. Never tried such a biryani, it loos super yummy!

  6. this is worth the experiment... looks absolutely delicious....

  7. wow..wud have been reat for our lent season....saw this first on ur fb profile..then page so definitely wanted to drop by. How u doing Manju :)

  8. Adding lauki in biriyani sounds new and interesting.. Biriyani looks delicious..

  9. I even use Lauki in sambar and avial without skin and they taste just like cucumber. I also make erriserry kind of curry with it. The Biriyani sounds like a quick fix. Also Lauki is available all year round in Indian stores and even in chinese stores here.

  10. very flavorful n delicious,unique biriyani..looks yumm :)

  11. Definitely a different briyani, never knew that laukis are good for diabetic people, wonderful post.

  12. I was not aware that this is a nutritional veggie..I have never picked up this, there are some veggies which never impressed with me with their looks, dhoodhi or lauki as u call is one of it =D but if its good maybe I should try it...

  13. You had my attention at Biriyani!! Looks lovely!!


Thank You so much for visiting here. I would love to hear from you , please leave a comment or suggestion and Hope to see you again !