Boroma's Lau Ghonto

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Vegetarian, main dish, mild spicy, Bengali

Boroma, my great-grandmother got married, in the early 1900s, when she was fifteen to a member of a Zamindari family of Dharula, Chittagong District, in what is now Bangladesh. Boroma's Dharula home had separate vegetarian and non-vegetarian kitchens in the courtyard behind the house.

Here food was cooked on stoves run on kerosene and cow dung cakes. Her cooking vessels were all metallic: iron, brass and copper. Boroma's vegetarian dishes, flavoured with mild spices, were family favourites.


  • 500 grams 1 lb tender Bottle Gourd cut into thin, short strips
  • 2-3 chopped green chillies
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tspn cumin seeds
  • 1 tspn oil or ghee
  • Salt to taste
  • A pinch of turmeric powder
  • A pinch of cinnamon-cardamom powder


Heat oil/ghee in a kadai/wok/heavy bottomed saucepan.

Put in all masalas except cinnamon-cardamom powder and fry for a few seconds.

Put in gourd strips and mix lightly.

Cover and cook on slow heat until water dries up.

Sprinkle cinnamom-cardamom powder on top and serve hot.

© Manjula Mathur, India 2008

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