Bottle-Gourd, also known as calabash in some places, or as lauki in India, is one of the world’s first cultivated plants that was grown primarily for use as containers, rather than as a food. Nevertheless, over the eons it has become a popular household vegetable in many places. The recipe below brings out the sweetness that lies within the individual grated bottle gourd strings, which are then turned crunchy when caramelized with sugar. While I accept that not everyone would be a bottle-gourd fan at first blush, it is quite likely that once you try out this recipe you too could be a convert to this unassuming, uniquely shaped vegetable.

Total time: 20-25 minutes
Serving: 4 people

1 large bottle gourd
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 drops green food color (optional)
1 tbsp rose water
1 tsp clarified butter (ghee)
1 tsp cardamom powder
1 tbsp sliced almond


  • Wash and wipe the bottle-gourd
  • Peel the gourd horizontally all around using a julienne peeler
  • Place the peeled strings in a tray; discard the center portion filled with seeds
  • Wash the strings in water, squeeze out water and set aside
  • Heat a large broad pan, add sugar and cook with a little water until dissolved
  • Add the strings to the pan and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring at intervals
  • Keep stirring until sugar syrup and juice from strings dries up
  • Mix green color to the ghee and add to the pan, stirring to coat the strings
  • Remove pan and set aside to cool
  • Separate the strings with a fork

Place in a serving bowl, sprinkle with rose water, garnish with cardamom powder, and almond slices, dust a little sugar powder on top and serve immediately. The strings can be safely stored in a container in the freezer for up to 10 days.

Indian Chef Chhaya Thakker, who has a huge following online on WhatsApp and YouTube will be sharing her favorite recipes and cooking tips with readers of The Times Kuwait. For feedback, you can write to


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