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 😀
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 😋 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 😊
Al Yakhni (my way)Course: MainCuisine: IndianDifficulty: Medium
A yoghurt based Kashmiri dish made using bottle gourd as the star ingredient.
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
Jeera (cumin): 1tsp
Al vaer (kashmiri masala): 1tsp
Water: 1 cup
Salt to taste
- 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 😋
- 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.