Lightened-Up Lazeez Lauki

lightened-up lazeez lauki
lightened-up lazeez lauki

For a long time now, I have been drooling over this recipe for Lazeez Lauki.

Since I struggle with my weight under the best of circumstances (and lately it’s been worse!), I couldn’t even contemplate the rich filling — paneer, nuts of all description, khoya, fried onions… egads!

Then I happened upon this yummy version of stuffed bottlegourd by our own
dear Richa, and she referenced yet another version by Tarla Dalal.

Armed with inspiration, I set out to make a lightened-up Lazeez Lauki.

To begin, I used mashed potato in place of the khoya. I wasn’t sure what it would taste like, but mixed with the rest of the stuffing goodies, you could hardly tell it was potato. I did, of course, use a few nuts and sweet little sultanas!
To make the potato creamy, I added a small amount of lowfat yogurt.

I used this delicious store-bought lowfat paneer. Rather than grating it to disappear in the potato, I cut it into small cubes and browned those with the nuts and raisins. Leaving the paneer in chunks also allowed me to use much less;
since you actually see and bite into it, you really know it’s there.

In the whole recipe I used only one teaspoon of ghee. I suppose I could have made it even healthier with canola oil. I find when using only a small amount of fat in a dish, the taste of pure ghee really makes it shine and you don’t feel like you’ve deprived yourself of something yummy 🙂

A simple sweet-spicy tomato sauce contrasted perfectly with the bland bottlegourd and its smooth filling studded with nuts, fruit and cheese.

All in all a successful experiment!


Lightened-up Lazeez Lauki

1 medium lauki/doodhi/sorakaya/bottlegourd

For the filling:

1 large potato
2 TB lowfat yogurt
1 tsp garam masala
salt to taste
optional: a few chopped cilantro leaves

1 tsp ghee
1/4 c chopped onion
3 oz lowfat paneer
1 TB nuts of your choice (I used cashew pieces and charoli nuts)
1 TB sultanas

For the sauce:

2 c fresh tomato puree (from about 3-4 big tomatoes)
1 tsp grated ginger
1 stick cinnamon
few cloves
1 tsp kashmiri chili powder (or to taste)
1-2 lumps jaggery
pinch salt


Prepare the lauki by washing, peeling, and cooking in pressure cooker, kettle of boiling water, or microwave just until fork tender. Don’t overcook it like I did the first time as it’s already full of water! They don’t call this the water gourd for nothing 😉

Set aside to drain and cool. Once cool enough to handle, slice off the large end and then using a knife with a long, thin blade, cut out the seeds and surrounding flesh, leaving a shell about 1/4″ thick. You can use a spoon to get the last of the seeds. Let this shell drain while preparing the filling and sauce.

Wash, peel, and cook the potato in boiling water or the microwave.
While hot, mash the potato with yogurt, garam masala, cilantro leaves if using, and salt to taste. Set aside. ** (see note below)

Cut the paneer into small cubes.

In a small frying pan, heat the ghee and add the chopped onion. Cook slowly over med-low heat until translucent. Raise the heat to medium and add paneer cubes, nuts and sultanas. Fry this mixture, stirring often, for 3-4 minutes or until everything is toasty golden brown. Remove the mixture to the potato bowl and mix gently to combine. Reserve the ghee in the pan.

When the filling is cool enough to handle, gently stuff the lauki full as it will hold. Any leftover filling is the cook’s treat 😉

Heat the pan with reserved ghee, adding a spray or two of Pam if there isn’t enough ghee left. Gently brown the stuffed lauki on all sides. Take out onto a plate and let it rest while you make the sauce.

In the same pan over med-low, fry the ginger with the cinnamon and cloves for a few minutes, then add the tomato puree and chili powder. Let this simmer over low heat for 15 minutes or so, until the tomatoes thicken a little. Taste and add jaggery — 1 or 2 lumps depending on how sour the tomatoes are. Add a pinch of salt and cook a further 15 minutes. Stir well and correct the seasoning.

To serve, slice the stuffed lauki about 1/2 inch thick. Ladle some sauce onto a warm plate and place the lauki slices on top.

lazeez lauki in sweet-spicy tomato sauce
lazeez lauki ~ light version in sweet-spicy tomato sauce

**Note: I don’t know what possessed me to put chopped cilantro into this filling. It didn’t belong and you could hardly even taste it. That’s what I get for reading 37 recipes before trying to cook something myself…

Now this last photo is a suggestion for those creative kids over at Jugalbandi — a “Click” theme idea for somewhere down the road: dishes that match your dishes. I’m ready when you are. How about it guys?? 😉

matching dishes!

matching dishes

And oh, look! I’ve been missing my blog-hopping — I just discovered I can send this to darling Sia for her Ode To Potatoes! Whew! I have missed a few events, but it’s nice to make this one. Can’t wait to see all your potato delicacies, Sia! 🙂


  1. Mona said

    Thats a very new kind of dish to me, never tried to stuff up a bottle gourd before, Thanks for sharing, am gonna try this !!

    Thanks Mona, it’s really easy to make, too. If you try I hope you enjoy! 🙂

  2. Jayashree said

    Wow…wow…and wow again. You have me drooling.

    Aw, thank you Jayashree! 🙂

  3. revathi said

    Wow takes lauki to a different level altogether to a fine cuisine status. I want to try this –

    Really easy recipe Revathi, thanks! — and I am sure you won’t mess up par-cooking the lauki like I did first time 😉

  4. sra said

    Yeah, lauki’s a veggie that seems hard to dress up, but you only need to begin to find out it can be very versatile. Have missed your posts, Linda!

    Lauki reminds me of zucchini, Sra. When we were kids we used to be sent out with armfuls from Nana’s garden, trying to get rid of them by foisting on unsuspecting neighbors 😉 But like the lauki, as we grew up we learned a few tricks with it. Thanks for passing by 🙂

  5. Bharathy said

    Very creative one,Linda!..Just love the innovative recipe! 🙂

    Thank you Bharathy! 🙂

  6. shyam said

    Yay! you’re back – and with a cool recipe! 🙂 I’ve got a friend coming over this weekend, I think I’ll try this recipe on her!

    Ooh, hosting a cooking party!? 🙂 Have a great weekend Shyam 🙂

  7. indosungod said

    Linda, I have never seen the humble bottle gourd dressed up like that even thhough you call it lightened 🙂 Looks fantastic, lately it has not been one of my favorites either but this is something I would want to try. As for the ghee there is abolsutely no harm in ayurveda ghee has sattvic qualities (contenment of mind and body), so no guilt 🙂

    Contentment quality sounds good to me, ISG 🙂 Glad you liked the recipe. It does give quite a different flavor than plain lauki. I bet this veggie would do well in one of your spicy gravies! 🙂

  8. jai said

    suggestion taken 🙂

    Thanks Jai! Metal’s going to be a challenge — but nice choice 🙂

  9. Laavanya said

    This looks great.. thanks for a lightened up version! 🙂

    Thanks Laavanya, I’m glad you liked it 🙂

  10. Asha said

    egads is right!:D 😀

    Looks great though Linda darlin’. NEVER feel guilty when you are enjoying the food! A bit of meat on your bones always keeps you warm. HeHe!!

    Food matches the plate. great idea!! Alas!! Why didn’t you throw in a pretty spoon there in the photo for click Metal???l!!!

    Haha Asha, I should have thought about that spoon! Who me, feeling guilty!? Not to worry — I’ve got enough meat on my bones and then some! 😉 Glad you liked the gourd — almost time for looking over garden seeds yes? 🙂

  11. Happy Cook said

    You used only 1 tsp ghee that is a great news.

    It was for my diet, HC! Just saw your yummy choc cupcakes. If I make those I’ll need more diet dinners — they look delicious! 🙂

  12. richa said

    looks very appetising with all those lovely colors 🙂
    next, will try the one with sauce!
    Thanks for the mention, Linda!

    Thank *you* Richa! Without happening upon your appetizer I wouldn’t have thought to try this 🙂

  13. Suganya said

    You have taken the humble lauki to the next level, Linda. This is will make a beautiful vegetarian entree (any restaurateur listening?). You make like this recipe too.

    Thank you Suganya! I’m happy you enjoyed it. I tried to get this link but it would not load tonight. Will keep trying. I used to have wonderful neighbors who came from Lebanon. Learned alot from them about great cooking, too 🙂

  14. Vani said

    Wow! Lauki never looked better!! That looks really yum, Linda!

    Thanks, Vani! It’s so nice to see you back around 🙂

  15. Menu Today said

    Hi Linda,

    Usually I make kottu, paratha and subzi with that vegetable. Your version looks nice and very creative. thanks for sharing.

    Hi MT, I’m glad you liked the lauki! I should try paratha when I am brave enough 🙂

  16. Cynthia said

    What a fantastic dish and idea. I am actually cooking bottle gourd today 🙂 but not in such a fancy dish 🙂

    Glad you enjoyed, Cynthia, thanks! I have to pass by and see what you’ve made 🙂

  17. Pelicano said

    You wanna know what is also very good? Bottle-gourd halvah….I thought I’d help with your diet. 😀
    Yeah, it reminds me of zucchini too…and the tons of it we used to get from grandma and the neighbors…can we say zucchini bread/cake? 😉

    Love your take on the dish- original looks like Hyderabadi Moghlai, definitely for special occasions when caution can be tossed to the wind, but yours is a scrumptious, protein-packed creation. Nice work. and don’t feel guilty about a little ghee- think of all of our countrymates who devour frozen pizzas and fast food continually! My main problem is that I need to begin walking regularly, but with spring announcing itself these days it shouldn’t be difficult.

    BTW, there might be a puzzle for you to solve hanging about somewhere. 🙂

    OK Pel, I took a stab 🙂 I need that walking too — and the snow is nearly gone so yes, tomorrow’s another day! I don’t feel guilty about that teeny bit of ghee, never fear.

    BTW in our family it was stuffed zucchini, and I do mean stuffed. Those were some monstrous squash and they really looked big as boats to us kids! Whew! 🙂

  18. Pelicano said

    Were these stuffed zucchini you speak of meat-stuffed, such as we do with bell peppers, tomatoes or cabbage leaves? And…have you posted this recipe?

    Yes, everything seemed so big back then. One of my grannies would plant a few rows of (ornamental) gourds for me, and it was such a thrill in fall to see what nature had concocted.
    Have a great time on your trip!

    No, dear Pel — they weren’t stuffed with meat at all — stuffed with more zucchini! And I haven’t posted a recipe because I can hardly bear to remember them. But my kids are getting older, so maybe this summer! 😉

    Grandmothers are the best, for gardens 🙂 Back from the frozen lakes now and wishing I never had to leave! One of these days will pass by WI, too. Now I have to go see who won the contest!

  19. Lakshmi said

    wooow..those pics left me drooling…awesome recipe.

    Thank you so much Lakshmi — I’m glad you liked it! 🙂

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