I was not a big fan of the bottle gourd or any member of the squash family. Till I got a bumper crop from the garden and the fresh bottle gourd with firm fleshy white meat and no seeds or very tender seeds turned me into a fan. The only dish I would make from bottle gourd or lauki was kofta curry. Then I tried my hand at this humble dal and surprised myself at how tasty it turned out. Using chana dal (split Bengal gram) gives the dish a lovely creamy texture.
(Serves 4 persons)
Bottle gourd or lauki 1 1/2 cups, peeled and cubed
Chana dal 1/4 cup
Onion 1, chopped
Tomato 1 large, chopped
Mustard seeds 1 tsp
Garlic 4 cloves, chopped
Red chilli powder 1 tsp
Coriander powder 1 tsp
Turmeric 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil 1 tbsp
Coriander leaves a few sprigs, chopped
Mint a few leaves
Soak the chana dal in water for 30 minutes. Drain.
Add oil to the pressure cooker and sputter the mustard seeds. Add the onions and fry till they turn translucent. Add the garlic and fry for a few seconds. Add the tomatoes and fry till they soften. Add the spices. Saute for 1 minute.
Add the chana dal and the cubed lauki. Add salt and mix well. Fry for two minutes. Add enough water to cover the dal. Close the lid and let it cook on high flame for one whistle and on low flame for four whistles. Switch off the heat and let the pressure cooker cool.
Take the lid off and check the gravy. If needed, heat it till the gravy thickens.
Garnish with coriander leaves and mint and serve hot with rice or bread.