This chapter of Kshemakutuhalam which is dedicated to various vegetable varities has many sub sections too .. the subsections deals with different fruits, leafs, tubers etc which can be used as vegetables in cooking and currently we have been reading the section of fruits which have been used in cooking.
1.”Ash-gourd” has multiple uses in Indian cuisine. Author describes a recipe called “susvadu sundaram”. Yes, the name is artistic and so is the recipe. It is simple. Here, pieces of ash gourd is dipped in veshavara and takra (buttermilk) and then deep fried in ghee. This is something unusual and isn’t been heard of in recent cuisines.
2. Author also describes a recipe called “gulitala”. Here, pieces of ash gourd is mixed with ghee and little bit of jaggery and then cooked in cumin seeds and black pepper. This is so unique. This recipe would have both sweet and spicy taste due to jaggery and black pepper and would additionally have the flavour of jeera.
3.There is another interesting dish told with ash gourd. Here, pieces of it are steamed, smashed along with little quantity of milk. Then it is cooked with sugar, ghee and later sprinkled with powder of black pepper, cardomom and other flavours of our choice.
4. Ash gourd is cut into pieces, shallow fried in ghee and sprinkled with rock salt powder and asafoetida. This can be used as a starter and improves appetite.
5. Pieces of ash gourd are smashed with rock salt powder and added with lemon and fresh ginger extracts. Author says this dish improves the appetite and aids digestion.
6. There is also a recipe told with the skin of ash gourd. Commonly the skin of ash gourd is used in india for various dishes like papads etc… Here, author tells to mix ash gourd with powder of channa i.e. bengal gram and either can be fried in oil or cooked like a broth.
7. Pieces of ash gourd is cut in the shape of a little finger are boiled and mixed with pieces of black mustard, curds and rock salt. This dish is called as “aasuri” by the author.
Like this, ash gourd has variety of recipes to its credit including spicy, sweet and salty ones….. Kshema Sharma, the author says that ash gourd can be prepared in many other ways depending on the cook’s imagination and intellect.
Lastly, the properties of this most flexible vegetable is been described. It promotes growth, gives strength, it is cold in potency, is good for bleeding tendencies. Actions of it also varies with regard to whether it is ripe, unripe etc…
Just like brinjal, ash gourd too is very extensive in the book, owing to its flexibility in preparing dishes.
Stay tuned for more vegetables !!!! Happy time !!!