Tutraylu Dodhi Ma Gos | Meat in a Bottle Gourd
At the risk of being frowned upon, I am sharing an old family recipe which gives the bottle gourd a fair chance to stand tall and shine. The truth is that it tastes better than it looks, and we all tend to eat with "our eyes" before tasting it with our palate! Sadly, it can never look attractive, striking, or even inviting enough to whet our appetites. But it does taste good with a fresh rotli, chapati, or phulka, and so if you are adventurous enough to give this a try, I say go for it. The same recipe can be used for vengna ma gos, which I often make using roasted chunks of eggplant and adding a teaspoon of ground cumin seeds.
It must be done right, so follow the recipe to the tee.
Behind this simple recipe is an intriguing story. Similar to this recipe, kaakri ma gos was made from large watery cucumbers with thin edible skin and seeds scraped off, as with bottle gourd. Cucumber chunks were cut and placed on a well-braised piece of mutton, lamb, or goat bone—a neck works well for this recipe. Simply cooked in a little oil with salt, ginger, and garlic paste, and a few whole warm spices for heat. The kaakri is then placed on top of the simmering meat, tightly closed, and simmered until everything is perfectly combined. This was something Parsis cooked in Gujarat, possibly after bringing a version of it from Persia, where the vegetable of choice with meat would have been the eggplant.
As we progressed, white bottle gourd replaced the kaakri, and adding dry red chilli to enhance the flavour was included. Water was not required for kaakri ma gos because the cucumber provided enough liquid, but dodhi ma gos will require additional liquid to fully cook the meat. However, the deliciousness of either vegetable is dependent on ensuring that the cooking is continued until 'tayl per avay'.
|Dodhi ma gos - an ancient way of eating vegetables and meat|
2 tbsp oil
250 g/ 1/2 lb thinly sliced onions
2 tsp freshly grated ginger
2 tsp fresh grated garlic
1 tsp salt
2 large dried flat red chillies
500 g/ 1.1 lb bone-in medium pieces mutton, goat, or lamb
1 cinnamon stick
1 kg/ 2.2 lb of grated bottle gourd, -weighed after peeling
2 cups of water
In a pan, heat the oil and add the onions. Sauté until it gets a light brown colour on it. Add the ginger, garlic paste, salt, two whole chillies, and meat. Add the cinnamon stick. Sauté for 5 minutes and add the gourd, dudhi, and lauki. Add the water, bring it all to a boil, lower the heat, cover the pan and allow it to cook for an hour and 15 minutes. Give it a stir and check that the meat is cooked through. Continue cooking until the meat is done. Once the meat is ready, keep cooking without the cover until all the water has evaporated. This is very important. Eventually, you will see little droplets of oil rising to the sides of the pan. This is what you are looking for and only then it becomes "tutraylu". It is also known as ghee tayl per avaylu.
Pick a young gourd. Light green skin and unblemished are the best varieties. If it is bitter, discard it.
If you are unsure, it is better to have a bit of extra onion rather than less.
The large, flat dried chilli, which is smooth and shiny, is medium hot, while the crinkly ones are hot. But this dish must have the chillies to bring out the flavour.
Photo courtesy Niloufer Mavalvala
My published cookbooks are available for sale through myself and on Amazon.
The World of Parsi Cooking: Food Across Borders is an award-winning book. It was self-published in July 2019 and will be going into its second print in 2022.
The Art of Parsi Cooking: Reviving an Ancient Cuisine was published in 2016 by Austin Macauley and continues to be available through Amazon Book Depot, Book Depository, and from the publishers.