Lauki Chana Dal Curry (Bottle Gourd and Split Chickpeas)

Looking for a quick and simple dish for busy weeknights? This combination of bottle gourd and chana dal could be of help.

The humble veggie like bottle gourd, or lauki as we call it in India, is very high in nutrition but low on taste. Due to this it often receives a step-motherly treatment. Worse still, many consider it as a food for those with an upset stomach. It will definitely not object to a make over.

‘Chana Dal’ is now included in the Oxford Dictionary.

Cooking it in the onion gravy with chana dal gives the humble bottle gourd a new image. It tastes rich and spicy and can serve as a perfect companion to rice, rotis, parathas and naans. 

While preparing this dish I threw in all the masalas in one mixer jar and gave them a good run. The paste was added to the oil and cooked till the oil separated. The oil separation from the masala is important to bring out the real taste of the masala.

Another step I usually add to all pressure cooked dishes is the boiling part. Pressure cooking only cooks the food. To get the flavour, aroma, and texture of the dish it is important to boil it. But do remember to keep stirring occasionally.

Lauki Chana Dal (Bottle Gourd and Split Chickpea Curry)

Lauki Chana Dal (Bottle Gourd and Split Chickpea Curry)

Ingredients

  • Chana dal (split chickpeas) - 1/2 cup
  • Bottle gourd chopped - 1 cup
  • Coriander seeds - 1 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
  • Dry red chillies - 2
  • Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
  • Garam Masala powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Tomato - 1 small
  • Onion - 1 medium size
  • Ginger - 1/2 inch piece
  • Garlic - 6 cloves
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil - 2 tbsp
  • Chopped coriander leaves for garnishing

Instructions

  1. Wash and soak the chana dal in three cups of water.
  2. Chop the bottle gourd into half inch cubes.
  3. Dry roast the coriander seeds, cumin seeds and red chillies.
  4. Roughly slice the onion and chop the tomato.
  5. Add the onion, ginger, garlic, tomato and roasted masalas to a mixer jar and grind to a paste.
  6. Heat the oil in a pressure cooker.
  7. Add the ground paste to the hot oil.
  8. Add turmeric and salt.
  9. Stirring occasionally, cook the masalas till the oil separates.
  10. Add the chopped bottle gourd and cook for approximately 5 minutes. It will start releasing water.
  11. Add the soaked dal with the water.
  12. Add the garam masala powder and close the lid and cook on high flame.
  13. After the first whistle, lower the flame and allow to cook for ten minutes.
  14. When the pressure is released remove the lid and stir well.
  15. Put it back on the flame lightly covered and allow to boil for another ten minutes. Keep stirring occasionally.
  16. Serve hot garnished with chopped coriander leaves.
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