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Monday, July 5, 2010

Potlakai pala kootu (Snake gourd cooked in milk)

This is a dish I first tasted in my sister-in-laws house. Turns out to be a south Indian dish that I never heard of. My sister-in-law who is an expert cook, says this dish is especially great during winter because it sooths the throat troubled by the winter cold. This is one of those vegetables I always ignored as a kid. I used to wonder what to make out of it whenever I saw it in Indian stores. Now this dish has become my favorite that I make often.


1. 2-3 cups of potlakai cut into circles
2. 3/4th cup of dry coconut (either cut into small pieces or slices or grated)
3. 1/4th to 1/2 cup of pepper corns - depending how strong you want
4. 1 cup of milk
5. 1 tbsp of rice flour for thickening
6. 2 tbsp of oil
7. Salt, about 1 tsp or so


Wash the potlakai thoroughly and cut them into circles with the skin in tact. In a frying pan on medium heat, add a oil and fry the potlakai just a little. Add salt and about 1 cup of water and allow it cook with the lid closed. Meanwhile, grid the dry cocunut and pepper corns into a smooth paste adding little water. As the potlakai is half cooked, add the ground paste. Mix well and allow it cook again in this paste for a few minutes. The paste should be enough to cover all the potalakai generously. Then add milk and close the lid and allow it to cook again. Once the potlakai is fully cooked, add the rice flour dissolved in a little water, to thicken the milk into a sauce. If all the milk is already absorbed, and you don't see enough sauce, add more milk and bring it to a boil. Depending on what consistency you like, you can add more or less milk. I prefer it to be thick while eating with roti or chapathi, and thin while eating with hot rice.

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