This recipe is from journalist Seema Chishti’s book ‘Sumitra and Anees: Tales and Recipes from a Khichdi Family’—the story of her parents Sumitra and Anees, their inter-faith marriage, and in a sense, the celebration of India’s pluralism. Woven into their story are recipes from Sumitra’s kitchen, a site of confluence for the diverse culinary traditions she mastered.

Slightly sour curd 1 bowl
Besan (chickpea flour) 2-3 tablespoons
Bottle gourd (lauki) 1, medium-sized
Onion 1
Garlic 1 pod
Turmeric powder 1 teaspoon
Ginger 1 medium-sized piece
Oil 1 tablespoon
Methi 1 and 1⁄2 teaspoons
Chilli powder 1 and 1⁄2 teaspoons
Red chillies 2
Cumin seeds For tempering
Salt To taste

Mix curd and chickpea flour well with turmeric and keep it aside.


Chop the onions and garlic and grate the ginger. Make a paste of it along with chillies or chilli powder.


Peel lauki, cut it into medium-sized pieces. Boil it separately with salt. Add the boiled pieces into the curd mixture. Take a vessel; heat the oil, add the methi.


After methi turns brown, add the paste and after 2-3 minutes add the lauki.


See to it that the mixture is not too thick. Add some water, if needed.


Boil it for 5-8 minutes, give a tadka of cumin seeds.

Seema Chishti has grown up, studied, lived and worked in Delhi as a journalist-writer for three decades. She is the co-author of Note by Note: The India Story (1947-2017) and has worked with BBC in London and India, The Indian Express and HTV.

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