Al Yakhni (my way)

My nanihaal (maternal family) is from Kashmir. I remember spending all my vacations amidst mountains, apple orchards, walnut trees & wooden houses. Oh what good times they were! 1989 was the last year I visited the valley & never had I thought that’d be the last time we’d be enjoying nani ke ghar. Oh well good times don’t always last but there’s no reason why good food can’t πŸ˜€
Whenever I visit my parents, I insist on my mom preparing a few Kashmiri delicacies for me, primarily because I can never make them like she does. Three of my favourite vegetarian recipes are this Al-Yakhni, Koshur Dum Olu & Palak Tschaman  πŸ˜‹ On my own, I make the Yakhni very often at our home because S is very fond of it. My recipe is in no way authentic but this is how we like it at home, a little spicy & a tad tangy! Here I use a Kashmiri masala, Koshur Vaer, that lends this dish a nice flavour & a deep, rich colour. The Yakhni is made out of lauki (bottle gourd), curd & a few spices. It’s a no-onion, no-garlic recipe. This is a refreshing dish for people who dislike gourds. It’s light on the stomach & makes for a beautiful summer lunch, pairing well with steamed rice. Please remember that this is very different from the non-vegetarian Yakhnis you might have heard about. Those involve more spices & complex cooking. Try the Al-Yakhni to bring add a subtle variety to your palate. You won’t be disappointed  πŸ˜Š

Al Yakhni (my way)

Course: MainCuisine: IndianDifficulty: Medium
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

10

minutes
Cooking time

25

minutes

A yoghurt based Kashmiri dish made using bottle gourd as the star ingredient.

Ingredients

  • Lauki (bottle gourd): 500gms

  • Mustard oil: 2tbsp + for frying

  • Yoghurt: 1 cup

  • Saunf (fennel) powder: 2tbsp

  • Sonth (dry ginger powder): 1/2tsp

  • Red chilli powder: 1/2tsp

  • Green cardamom: 2

  • Cinnamon: 1 inch piece

  • Sugar: 1/4tsp

  • Jeera (cumin): 1tsp

  • Al vaer (kashmiri masala): 1tsp

  • Water: 1 cup

  • Salt to taste

Directions

  • Peel & cut the bottle gourd into roundels. Deep fry the pieces till they turn golden brown on both sides.
  • In a kadhai, add 2tbsp oil. Tip in the cardamom, cinnamon & jeera. Once fragrant, add salt, red chilli powder & sugar. Now add half a cup of water & let the mix boil.
  • Now add the fried lauki roundels to the boiling mix & cover the kadhai. Let it simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Bring the yoghurt to room temperature & beat it to a smooth consistency. Add half a cup of water to it. Make sure there are no lumps.
  • Add the yoghurt to the kadhai & mix well. Keep stirring for a while so that the yoghurt doesn’t split.
  • Now add the saunf powder, sonth & koshur vaer. If you find the gravy less, add some more water & bring to a boil.
  • Cover & simmer the dish for 10 minutes. Check for seasoning.
  • Al Yakhni is ready to be served with hot steamed rice Β πŸ˜‹

Notes

  • Make sure the yoghurt is at room temperature so it doesn’t split.
  • You can totally avoid the red chilli powder & Al Vaer. I add those because we are big on spice  😁
  • This dish can be made with lotus stem as well. It’s called Nadru Yakhni.

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