Lauki Chana Dal (Bottle gourd and bengal gram curry)

A simple Dal is a thing of beauty. It is wholesome, it is comforting and incredibly delicious. Not to forget, it is incredibly nutritious too. You can add vegetables and meat to a dal preparation and it transforms into a totally different dish. This is one such dish. Cooked dal and bottle gourd is added to an onion-tomato spicy masala and is simmered till its thick, well cooked and delish!

I have used a small-medium bottle gourd for this recipe and have soaked the chana dal for 3 hours.You dont have to follow the exact recipe for this dish-consider the recipe I give you here more of a guideline than something you need to absolutely follow. I have used a medium sized sauce pot- you can use a pressure cooker or Instapot and if you, remember that the timings will vary. For example, I cook the dal for 30 minutes in the sauce pot, you’ll probably need only 10 minutes in a cooker.

I weighed the dal before soaking- 100 grams. After soaking it for 3 hours, it almost doubles up in weight-195grams. This is an important step, it needs to be soaked to cook it faster and for the finished dal to be mashable and tasty. The ratio I have used here is 200 grams chana dal to 350 grams of bottle gourd. For me, this was perfect- both of them are well represented.

Tips-

  1. Soak the dal and prep the ingredients before you start. As the dal and gourd cook, you can prep the masala on the side.
  2. I kept the spices minimal, you can what you like.
  3. You can cook it into a curry (by adding more water) or make it a little dry (let it dry out). Dry chana dal with hot roti is so so good.

Now for the recipe,

Prep time- 10 minutes + 3 hours to soak the dal

Cook time- 35 minutes

Ingredients-

  1. Chana dal (Bengal gram)- 100 grams; after soaking it is almost 200 grams
  2. Lauki (bottle gourd)- 350 grams, quartered and sliced
  3. Onion- 1 big red onion, finely chopped
  4. Tomatoes- 2 nos, finely chopped
  5. Turmeric powder- 1 tsp (3/4 + 1/4)
  6. Kashmiri red chili powder- 1 tsp
  7. Cumin seeds- 1 tsp
  8. Asafoetida- 2 good pinches
  9. Oil- 3-4 tbsp
  10. Bay leaves- 2 nos
  11. Ginger- 1 inch, finely chopped
  12. Fresh coriander leaves- as garnish (not optional)
  13. Salt- as per taste
  14. Ghee- 2-3 tbsp to finish the dish

Procedure-

  1. Cook Dal- in a medium to deep sauce pot, add the soaked chana, sliced bottle gourd, 3/4 tsp turmeric powder and 1 cup of water. Cook for 30 minutes, keep checking in intervals of 10 minutes and give it a stir. Note- DO NOT add salt here, dal cooks better without salt. If using a cooker to cook dal, add only 3/4 cup water.
  2. In a wide saucepan, heat up the oil, add the bay leaves, asafoetida powder, 1/4 tsp of turmeric powder, red chili powder and cumin seeds. Stir for 30 seconds on low heat. Do not let the spices burn.
  3. Now add the onions and a little salt, saute for few minutes till they are soft. Now, add the ginger and saute for 30 seconds. After that, add the chopped tomatoes and cook till they are soft and mushy.
  4. Cook the onion-tomato mixture till you see some oil on the surface. This could take 8-10 minutes.
  5. To test if the dal is cooked, mash it between your fingers, it should easily mash. Once cooked, add the cooked dal and gourd to the onion-tomato mix and stir well.
  6. Cook till desired consistency, I added 1/2 cup of hot water and cooked it till the oil surfaced. Add salt to taste, mix in some ghee and garnish with fresh chopped coriander leaves. Done!

Enjoy this Lauki Dal with some hot Jeera Rice or hot flaky parantha. Its not overly spicy and hits the right spot, you need to try it!

I hope you guys try it, let me know if you do!

Lots of love,

Susan A

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