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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Ridge Gourd with Muastard Paste



Ridge gourd, Luffa acutangula, is the main ingredient of a very popular traditional Bengali plant based dish called "alu jhinge posto", i.e. ridge gourd and a little potato cooked with poppy seed paste. Ridge gourd is a close relative of the less popular sponge gourd, L. aegyptiaca, which was traditionally used in Bengal to make loofah by letting it ripen and then dry in the plant itself, then it is very fibrous, one just has to take the dried and hardened skin off which can be done with naked fingers and if you shake it vigorously, the dry black seeds will come off, too! It is eaten , too, when it is very young. 
But today, I am not going to post alu jhinge posto recipe here. Rather, I have decided to share a less famous and less common but no less tasty ridge gourd dish that is without potato. So, here is my favourite ridge gourd with mustard paste.


I peeled the gourd and cut into big cubes. I heated mustard oil and added sliced green chilli and mustard seeds and immediately added the gourd. Then I added turmeric powder and salt to it and stirred and mixed very well. Then I covered the pan with a lid. Water will start coming out from the gourd. I don't add water into it.
After the gourd is half cooked, I add the mustard paste, stir to mix it well and leave it cook further. If I find that a  lot of water has come out, I don't cover it again.
After the gourd is thoroughly cooked it is ready to serve. I always have it with steamed rice.

This is how I prepare the mustard paste: --
To make the mustard paste, I soak it in cold water for a long time, say, half an hour. If I want it hot and spicy, I add fresh green chilli to it. After the paste is made, I add a little water to it and strain it through a sieve to remove the husk. This is how we make sure that the dish doesn't get bitter because mustard can taste a bit bitter.

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