Winter is coming and so is an avalanche of soup recipes. And why not? Soups are nutritious, delicious and remedial. When fine dining, soup is often one of the starting courses, but it can be a whole meal by itself. Just ditch the premix and make it from scratch. This way, you get the best of both taste and nutrition.
Everybody loves tomato soup, chicken soup, and noodle soup. But some of the vegetables we rarely like – such as broccoli, pumpkin and radish – are better served as soups too. Bottle gourd, also known as lauki, is one such veggie that makes for a great soup. Where we might diss a vegetable in a curry, it could have potential for a soup. Lauki certainly does.
As for how healthy it is, according to integrated medicine, bottle gourd has liver-protecting properties. Dr Preeti Khanna, nutritionist, Delhi says, “It can help with liver inflammation and support its healthy functioning.”
Lauki comes with the bonus of weight loss as well. Dr Khanna explains, “Bottle gourds are naturally low in fat and are suitable for individuals who are on a low-fat diet.” It is low on calories (10.99 kcal in 100g) content and high in dietary fibre. It aids in digestion and prevents constipation. That is not all. Bottle gourd also has high water content which helps maintain your hydration level.
Bottle gourd contains various essential vitamins including vitamin C and B-complex vitamins such as B1 (thiamine), B3 (niacin), and B5 (pantothenic acid). Vitamin C supports the immune system, and the B-series are important for energy metabolism, according to Dr Khanna. She adds that bottle gourd contains minerals like calcium, magnesium, and iron, which are important for bone health, nerve function, and oxygen transport in the body. The vitamins and antioxidants in bottle gourd can contribute to healthy skin by promoting collagen production and reducing oxidative damage.
[Note: Though bottle gourd offers several health benefits, it should be consumed as part of a balanced diet. “Some people may be allergic to bottle gourd, so be mindful when incorporating it into your diet,” says Dr Khanna.]
Bottle gourd soup (Servings – 5)
- 1 medium size bottle gourd
- 1onion, chopped
- 1 tomato, sliced
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 2 cups water
- 3 garlic cloves
- Salt as per taste
- 1 pinch pepper powder
- ½ cup coriander, chopped
- Wash the bottle gourd and peel the skin. Chop it into medium-sized cubes. Put them in the pressure cooker.
- Now add garlic, chopped onion, chopped tomato, water, and cumin powder to the pressure cooker.
- Pressure cook all the above ingredients for 3 whistles. Allow it to cool down. Transfer the ingredients to a mixer jar and grind it into a fine puree.
- Pour the puree back into the pressure cooker.
- Add water if needed. Add pepper and chopped coriander.
- Allow it to boil for 30 seconds and switch off the flame. Have it hot.