Lauki Chana Dal
Quick to cook, one pot meals coming up on the blog in the next few posts. Also, easy on the tummy, cooling recipes coz, Summer! And I’m sure no one wants to spend hours in the kitchen cooking up and eating heavy meals.
Lauki… also known as bottle gourd, doodhi, ghiya and many other names. Not everyone’s favourite vegetable, even though it must be a regular in our diet thanks to its health benefits!
Chana dal… Bengal gram lentils, split chickpeas… high in protein and dietary fibre, what’s not to like about the one! With all its nutritional benefits, Chana dal is the perfect addition to your vegetarian / vegan / plant based diet.
A combination of the two (lauki and chana dal) is an easy, make ahead, one pot meal. Serve it with chapati, steamed rice, veggie pulao… or don’t. Lauki Chana Dal tastes delicious and is a filling meal on its own too.
I like to half cook the chana dal first, as lauki doesn’t take much time to cook. If both, chana dal and lauki, are added to the pressure cooker together, uncooked, we may end up with either mushy lauki or under cooked chana dal. Ideally, in this recipe of Lauki Chana Dal, the lauki and the chana dal should still hold shape after they’re cooked.
Lauki Chana Dal is made using everyday staple Indian kitchen / pantry ingredients. If you don’t have garam masala handy, add a few whole spices of choice… black peppercorns, cloves and cinnamon should work well.
As with any other recipe that you may try, always taste as you go and definitely before you serve. Adjust the flavours to your palate. A recipe, any recipe, is only a benchmark, mostly for cooking methods. The flavours are your own. More spices, less spices… adjust the flavours! More heat, less heat… adjust the flavours! It’s quite simple.
I would highly recommend using ghee in this recipe, as it helps with easy digestion of chana dal. If you’re off ghee for any reason (vegan or otherwise), use your regular cooking oil instead. Definitely add the asafoetida and fennel seeds.
If you like trying authentic, home cooked Indian curry recipes, you may want to give these recipes a go!
For now, here’s the recipe of Lauki Chana Dal.
Time taken: 20 minutes
Ingredients to make Lauki Chana Dal
500 gms lauki (bottle gourd / doodhi / ghiya)
¾ cup chana dal (split Bengal gram lentils / split chickpeas)
2 tbsp ghee or cooking oil
1 tsp cumin seeds / jeera
1 tsp fennel seeds / saunf
1 onion, medium size, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, medium size, finely chopped
1 inch piece of ginger, finely chopped
2 green chillies, finely chopped
¼ tsp turmeric powder / haldi
¼ tsp rock salt / kala namak (optional)
A good pinch of asafoetida / hing
1 tsp garam masala
½ tsp red chilli powder
Salt to taste
2 cups water
Method of making Lauki Chana Dal
Soak the chana dal for about half an hour prior to cooking.
Finely chop the ginger, green chillies, onions and tomatoes. I prefer to not add garlic in this recipe of Lauki Chana Dal. Feel free to add some, if you like.
When ready to cook, heat ghee or cooking oil in a pressure cooker. Add cumin seeds. Once these crackle, add the onions and fennel seeds. Sweat the onions on medium high heat. Once the onions turn pink, add the tomatoes.
Cook the onion tomato masala for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally, just till the tomatoes begin to break. Add the chopped ginger and green chillies. Cook for another minute on medium high heat.
Next, add the turmeric powder, rock salt, asafoetida and red chilli powder. Mix well and cook the spices for a few seconds. Add the soaked chana dal along with 2 cups of water.
Pressure cook for 1 whistle on high heat and 2 more on medium low heat. Switch off the heat.
While you’re waiting for the steam in the pressure cooker to settle naturally, wash, peel and chop the lauki or bottle gourd in to 1 inch cubes. Soak the chopped lauki in water, preventing it from oxidation / change of colour.
If you’re wondering why the chana dal has been half cooked first, read the introductory notes of the recipe. Yes, no life stories on there. Just recipe related things.
Once the steam in the pressure cooker has settled, place it back on medium high heat. At this point, there should be only enough water to cover the chana dal. Add the chopped lauki, no additional water. The bottle gourd will release its own juices while cooking, which is enough for this recipe of Lauki Chana Dal.
Add garam masala along with salt to taste and give everything a good mix. Pressure cook again for 1 whistle on medium high heat and 2 more on medium low heat.
As usual, let the steam settle naturally. Open the pressure cooker and check for consistency of the Lauki Chana Dal. If you like thick dal, and have followed the recipe measurements, you should be ok. If you like your dal with slightly thinner consistency, add a little water and let it come to a boil, no pressure cooking.
If you would like to further cook it down to blend the textures to a little overdone, go ahead and boil the Lauki Chana Dal without pressure cooking for a few minutes on medium high heat. Add a little water too.
Once you’ve reached the desired consistency of your Lauki Chana Dal, taste and adjust flavours too.
Add chopped fresh coriander as garnish and your Lauki Chana Dal is ready to serve!
I served my recipe of Lauki Chana Dal with steamed rice, baingan ka raita and papad.
Again, do read the introductory notes of my recipes for small tips and tricks which I may not always repeat in the cooking method.
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