I have not posted any Indian recipes lately. Actually, I have not posted anything lately, since we were away celebrating my son’s first birthday.
My son is one!! Time flies. It really does. Gosh. And to think 10 years ago I had just moved to New Delhi to attend University. Delhi introduced me to a lot of wonderful friends and a lot of amazing food. Butter chicken at Pandara; seekh kababs at Karim’s near Jama Masjid; tingmos and chilli beef at Majnu Ka Tilla; and of course, creamy dreamy cheesecake at The Big Chill. (If you plan on visiting Delhi anytime soon, Google away! I guarantee, none of these places will disappoint you food-wise.)
Along with all these yummy things, I was also introduced to lauki ki sabzi or bottle gourd, which is called calabash in some parts of the world. I don’t know why, but we just never ate it much in South India. Or maybe it was just my family.
Anyway. Most people I know detest lauki and consider it a pretty pathetic vegetable- the kind of thing you’d wrinkle your nose at. Not because it smells bad, but because it’s boring. Perhaps the same way people would react to brussel sprouts.
I always enjoyed lauki, and in the summer it’s a great vegetable to incorporate into your diet because of it’s cooling effect. I did a mash-up and added lauki to dal (lentils) to make a two-in-one dish.
- 1/2 cup yellow mung dal (yellow mung bean), soaked for a few hours in water
- 1 small or medium sized lauki, (bottle gourd) chopped
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
- 1 teaspoon garam masala powder
- Salt to taste
- A handful of kasuri methi or dried fenugreek leaves- optional
- In a pressure cooker, heat the oil.
- When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and let them pop, followed by the cumin seeds.
- Next, add dry spices, (turmeric powder+coriander powder+red chilli powder+garam masala powder) onion, tomatoes, ginger-garlic paste and stir-fry till the onions are soft.
- Add in the chopped lauki, and cook for a minute or two.
- Next, add the soaked and drained lentils (mung dal.)
- Add in the water and salt to taste, as well as the kasuri methi, if you wish. (I used 1 1/2 cups of water, but you can add less if you do not want the lentils to be too runny. I was planning on having mine with some steamed basmati rice, which is why I wanted it thinner.)
- Pressure cook for about 3 whistles or until the lentils are cooked.
If your are not using a pressure cooker, then make sure you soak the lentils overight. Add all the ingredients to a large pot and slow cook on a medium flame. I would suggest stir frying the lauki along with the onions, tomatoes, ginger-garlic
paste and dry spices, then taking them out, adding the lentils and water, letting the whole thing simmer, and then re-adding the lauki to the pot so it can cook through. (Phew! I just could not fragment that sentence.) Otherwise it will get too mushy.
It is not easy to make yellow dal look highly appetizing, but I assure you, this is the ultimate comfort food. For me, rice & dal work like chicken soup when I’m ill.
I thought it would be nice to share some everyday fare!!