Unique lauki recipe (opo squash) with a spicy kick! A quick and simple soup, made with celery, onion, and tomato – oozing with the aroma of cumin and coriander. A stellar way to warm up your day! Vegan and gluten free.
We went to Mississauga a few days ago and I visited some food markets (Oh, how I love those!). Came across some exotic produce, like these green squash. They were labelled as ‘Pakistani squash.’ I hoped the owner would be able to enlighten me with more details, but no luck. So, of course I called mum who solved the mystery, “It’s a type of bottle gourd,” she explained. And after some digging, I discovered they are known by several other names: calabash, and opo squash in the west and dudhi or lauki in the Indian subcontinent. It’s a type of summer squash, and comes in an array of shapes and sizes. It has light green skin with an ivory white flesh, and grows in a climber plant.
I must admit, I didn’t have a lauki recipe up my sleeve when I picked up these. It was the first time I had encountered this squash and had no clue. I could make a curry but pushed myself to consider something unfamiliar. For the last few days, they’ve been sitting on my counter, calling me. And so, I listened today and made soup.
We honestly don’t make soups as often as we used to. Am not sure why? I remind myself of the time when Roohi and IrshaadKarim were under five; soups were our top lunchtime pick, and were enjoyed at least twice a week. Well, they’re so simple and quick to whip up, and would provide a nourishing bowl of goodness to our cheeky monkeys! Endless Bonuses. I fondly recall IrshaadKarim would dunk his garlic bread soldier for too long and it would miss his mouth completely as he attempted a bite…poor chap, he was only 2.5 years. We would admire his perseverance, which hasn’t lessened (especially when it comes to food).
No lauki? No worries. Like lauki, other bottle gourds are versatile and delicate in flavour, and would create an equally delicious soup recipe. It’s perfect for any day of the week and offers something distinct and tasty.
You all know how I love fattafat (quickly) when it comes to cooking. This spicy lauki soup can be made in less than 30 minutes. Even better, most of the cooking time is hands free – so you can enjoy your family. The minimalist use of spices creates a simple, yet delicious soup that releases just the right amount of heat from the chillies. YUM.
Health benefits of bottle gourd – lauki
Lauki, is mostly water: about 95% in fact, and considerably low in calories; a 100 g serving is a mere 14 calories. With hardly any carbs – 3 g per 100 g; this is a viable option if you’re watching your intake of carbohydrates. The lauki squash is rich in potassium (which has shown to support blood pressure reduction), vitamin C (to boost your immunity) and vitamin A (to support eye health and immunity).
Smart meal prep tips
- Pre-cut squash, celery, onion and tomato at the weekend and store in the fridge, until ready to make the soup.
- You can make this soup ahead of time, portion it out and refrigerate for 3-4 days or freeze for 1 month.
What’s your favourite soup?
So, kuch kuch hota hai? If you try this recipe, would love to hear from you! Leave a comment, rate it, or share a photo and hashtag with #desiliciousrd on Instagram and twitter! Can’t wait to see your photos.
Spicy Lauki (Opo Squash) Soup
- 2 lauki skin off, cut into small cubes, opo squash
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion medium, finely chopped
- 1/2 inch ginger finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 2 stalks celery sliced in small pieces
- 1 tomato fresh, chopped in medium pieces
- 2 green chilli
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 lemon rind and juice
- 1 cup water
- 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds unsalted
- Wash and peel lauki (opo squash) and cut into small pieces and set aside
- Heat olive oil in a pan, add onion and fry until lightly brown on medium heat
- Add ginger, cumin, coriander, and cook for 1-2 minutes or until the spices start to release flavour
- Add tomato, celery and lauki and cook for 3 minutes
- Add water and salt, and bring to the boil
- Once boiling, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 10 min, or until the lauki is soft
- Add green chillies, lemon rind and juice and transfer to a blender (or use your hand blender) to blend
- Garnish with pumpkin seeds and serve hot