This is another one of Mum's recipes that I retrieved from my notebook. She taught me that the vegetables in any recipe must all be cut the same size and shape so that they cook evenly. The bottle gourd/squash can be replaced with pumpkin, sweet potatoes, zucchini, okra, eggplants or practically any other vegetable.
2 bottle gourd or 5 Chayote Squash, peeled & cut in strips
1 russet potato, peeled and cut in strips
1/2 lb. medium size shrimp, shelled and deveined
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. nigella seeds (a.k.a. kalo jeera/kalonji)
1 dried red chili, deseeded
1 large onion, chopped
2 tsp. ginger paste
1 large tomato, chopped
3 tsp. white poppy seeds (a.k.a. posto/khus khus)
3 tsp. black mustard seeds
3 tsp. unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 tsp. sugar
Salt to taste
3-5 green chilies
1 tsp. ghee
- Peel gourd/squash & potato. To cut gourd in strips, cut in half lengthwise, slice crosswise into crescents, stack crescents and cut into strips. To cut squash, remove tops, cut in half and soak in water. Place one half cut side down on chopping block and slice crosswise into crescents, then cut into strips. Cut potato in the same way. Set all aside.
- Soak mustard seeds in tepid water and a tsp. salt for an hour. Drain and set aside.
- Soak poppy seeds in boiling water and set aside to cool.
- In a blender, combine drained mustard seeds, poppy seeds along with water, 1 green chili and some salt. Liquefy until paste turns white.
- Toss shrimp with salt and saute lightly in oil until pink. Set aside.
- Sputter nigella seeds and dried chili in hot oil.
- Add onions and fry until translucent.
- Add gourd/squash, tomatoes, salt to taste and ginger paste. Stir well.
- Cover and simmer on medium heat until done.
- Add shrimp, sugar and blended paste. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Garnish with green chilies, cilantro and ghee. Remove from heat.