Kubhindo (Ash-gourd), or bhuyi-faasi in Newa language, is a native vegetable of Nepal but largely underutilized and neglected. The outer skin is covered with ash color powdery substance – the reason why it is called an ash-gourd. In Newa language, bhuyi means white and faasi means pumpkin. I remember eating this gourd more frequently when I was young but it is even harder to find them nowadays. I think I had underestimated the taste of it and never was in my preference until recently. I had its fresh achaar similar to making other typical Nepali achaar with sesame seeds and liked it. It is a versatile vegetable and can be made into fresh achaar, fermented achaar, curry, sweets or can be sundried for later use. The fresh ash-gourd can also be stored whole for several months to a year and was traditionally used when greens are not in season.
This recipe using the sundried kubhindo is similar to making typical Nepali curry. But I used the way of Tharu and other communities of southern plains of Nepal by adding roasted flaxseed powder to make this curry. Flaxseed is traditionally used by Tharu and other communities in southern plains to flavour the curry. It makes the curry thick and more delicious. Thank you Sanjib Chaudhary for recommending to use flaxseed.
Note: For making sundried kubhindo, remove the skin of kubhindo, halve them horizontally, remove the seeds and cut them into thin strips, and put directly under sunlight for about 3-4 days.
7-8 strips sundried kubhindo
1-2 tablespoons flaxseeds
1 medium-sized onion
2-3 garlic cloves
1 small thumb-sized ginger
1 tablespoon cumin and coriander powder mix
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon fenugreek seed
2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Soak the sundried kubhindo in hot water for 5-8 minutes. Then drain the water out and cut the strips into small pieces.
Peel the potatoes and cut it into pieces. Also, make the paste of ginger and garlic. Finely slice the onion and chop the tomatoes.
Lightly roast the flaxseeds in a small pan, let it cool down and grind into powder.
In a cooking pot, heat about 2-3 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot enough, fry the fenugreek seed. Then add onion, ginger and garlic paste, and turmeric powder.
Add potatoes and cook it for 3-4 minutes with occasional stirring. Then add the cut kubhindo pieces and cook it for other 4-5 minutes with occasional stirring. Then add chopped tomatoes, salt, cumin and coriander powder, red chilli powder and flaxseed powder. Cook it for other 4-5 minutes until tomato melts. Add a cup of water, give a stir and let it cook for other 7-8 minutes. The curry is ready.