1 doodhi (bottle gourd), about 500g/1lb 2 oz–600g/1lb 5oz, peeled, pith and seeds discarded, flesh diced into 1cm/½in cubes
1 tsp ground turmeric
1½ tsp salt
4 tbsp mustard oil
2 dried whole red chilli, broken, seeds and stalk removed
1 tsp cumin seeds
1½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tbsp ginger paste
½ tbsp garlic paste
400g/14oz prawn tails (head and shell removed), cut into 2–3 pieces
1 tsp ajwain seeds (carom seeds)
70g/2½ oz green peas or petit pois (frozen is fine)
1 tsp sugar
½ ts ground garam masala
squeeze lemon juice
Put the doodhi in a pan with half a teaspoon of the turmeric, half a teaspoon of salt and 250ml/9fl oz of water. Boil, covered, until the doodhi is cooked and most of the water is absorbed.
In a separate pan, heat the mustard oil to smoking point, then let it cool for 2– 3 minutes. This is done to get rid of the extra pungency in the mustard oil. After 2–3 minutes, add the dried red chilli and cumin seeds, then fry until they crackle and pop.
Mix together ground cumin, the remaining turmeric and the red chilli powder with the ginger and garlic pastes and fry for a minute or so. Add the prawns, remaining salt and the ajwain seeds and cook for a couple of minutes on high heat. If the spices appear to stick or burn, sprinkle in some water and carry on cooking for a couple of minutes until the prawns are pink, cooked and coated in spices.
Add the cooked gourd to the shrimp, reduce the heat and cook for another 2–3 minutes. Add the peas and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated and oil begins to separate on the sides of the pan. Finish with the sugar, garam masala and a squeeze of lemon juice.
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