Chana Dal (Split Bengal Gram) With Bottle Gourd 1
Channa Dal with Lauki 1
This was a popular dal in my parent's house. All my siblings cook it, but my mum still cooks it the best! Whenever I make it for friends, they love it too, specially the vegetarian ones-Mamta.
Lauki/Doodhi is the size of an average marrow, light green in colour and with a silky skin. It belongs to marrow family and also comes in 'round' variety, both taste the same. When buying, note that the freshest ones will have fine 'baby hair'. If you dig your nail into the flesh, it slides in easily. Over-ripe ones have tough, almost impenetrable skin. Serves 3-4
1 cup skinless chana dal
2 1/2 cup water.
1 small lauki or dudhi (Indian/bottle gourd).
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder.
Salt to taste.
2 tbsp. ghee or cooking oil.
1 tsp. cumin seeds.
A pinch of asafoetida powder.
1/2 tsp. chilli powder
1 onion chopped.
1 1/2 tsp. of curry or Sambhar Masala powder.
1 large tomato, chopped.
A handful of coriander leaves, cleaned, washed and chopped.
Wash and soak chana dal while preparing other things.
Boil water in a pressure cooker. Add dal, turmeric, salt and lauki to the water, close lid and cook under full pressure for 3-4 minutes or 2 ‘whistles’. Open pressure cooker only when cool.
If you do not have a pressure cooker, boil briskly in a pan, until the dal is cooked. If the dal seems too thick, you will need to add extra 'boiling' water. The dal should be the consistency of a casserole. Grains should be soft but not mushy.
Tempering or tarka
Heat oil in a pan.
Add cumin seeds and asafoetida powder and let the seeds splutter, not burn.
Add whole chillies, chilli powder and quickly add to dal, placing the lid on immediately. This allows the flavours to infuse.
If optional ingredients are used, add onions after cumin seeds splutter, fry until lightly brown. Add tomatoes and fry for 5 minutes and then add curry/sambhar powder. You will not need to add chilli powder. Cook until oil separates. Add to the dal and mix. Garnish with coriander leaves.
Serve hot with Chapatties.
You can add Garam Masala, if you wish, but it is not added to dals traditionally.