Chana Dal (Split Bengal Gram) with Snake Gourd
Channa Dal with Chachinda (Pudalangai Kootu)
Chana dal is often cooked with lauki or bottle gourd in India. In this version, I have used snake gourd, equally delicious!
It is dark green in colour, with almost white stripes, just like a snake, hence the name. Serves 3-4
1 cup skinless channa dal (split, skinless Yellow/Bengal gram or Kala chana)
2 1/2 cup water.
1 Chachinda or snake gourd
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder.
Salt to taste.
For tarka or tempering:
2 tbsp. ghee or cooking oil.
1 tsp. cumin seeds.
A pinch of asafoetida powder.
2 whole chillies, broken into halves
1/2 tsp. chilli powder
1 onion chopped.
1 1/2 tsp. of curry or Sambhar powder
1 large tomato, chopped.
A handful of coriander leaves, cleaned, washed and chopped.
Wash and soak chana dal while preparing other things. For cooking without a pressure cooker, soak for a few hours or overnight.
Top and tail chachinda and cut into 1 inch thick discs.
Boil water in a pressure cooker. Add dal, turmeric, salt and Chachinda 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.
Also see Dal Selection.
You can add Garam Masala, if you wish, but it is not added to dals traditionally.