Mach er matha die Lau ghonto - bottle gourd curry with fish head

Bottle gourd 

Image source: Asianetindia

Bottle gourd is considered to be a very boring vegetable for many food lovers. I have seen that Subway advertisement where the employee shrinks his nose and gives that helpless expression to the canteen owner when he tells that "lauki" or  bottle gourd is in the lunch menu. And suddenly his colleague suggests him eating at subway! No doubt subway serves delicious burgers and much more, but let’s faces it, bottle gourd is among those vitamin enriched vegetables which does wonders for our health. And for those curvy beauties out there like me, it also helps us to lose weight.
Now the question is how to turn this boring gourd into a lip smacking dish with just few changes made. As I said Bengali mothers are masters of turning a veg dish into mouth watering non-veg dish, my mother is no exception. Out of her various signature dishes I love her "Mach er Matha die Lau ghonto". She put absolutely no extra spice and still the dish turns out to be relishing magically. That’s called Mom’s magic probably.

So without much introduction let’s jump onto the recipe.

Preparation time: 15 minutes 
Cooking time: 45 minutes 
Total time: 1 hour


1. Bottle gourd- 1 medium, chopped
2. Pumpkin chunks- ½ cup (optional)
3. Any fish head, preferably Katla or Hilsha 1 big size, cut in halves
4. Turmeric powder 1 tea spoon for fish head, 2 teaspoon for the gourd
5. Sugar 2 teaspoon
6. Green chillies 5-6, slit
7. Salt as per taste
8. Oil 2-3 tablespoon


1. Wash fish heads and marinade with salt and turmeric. Keep aside for 15 minutes

2. Now heat 3/4the oil in a large pan. Fry the fish heads on medium heat for 7-10 minutes until brown.

3. Take them out and keep aside. Now heat remaining oil.

4. Add the green chillies and turmeric powder and fry until the raw smell goes away. Many people do use cumin seeds, but my mother does not use anything else.

5. Now add the gourd and pumpkin if using. Add salt and sugar.

6. Toss and turn very well.
7. Now cover the pan, let it cook on medium heat for15 minutes.
8. After 15 minutes, you will see water released from the gourd, toss and turn well. Again cover the pan for 10 minutes more.
9. After 15 minutes add the fish head pieces and break them in pieces.
10. Now mix well. After 15 minutes you will find that the gourd chunks are cooked well. If not then keep for 10-15 minutes more But let it cook for medium to high flame for another 10-15 minutes until the whole mixture becomes dried up and mushy.
11. Taste the seasoning. Turn off the heat.
12. Serve with steamed rice.