Thursday, 31 May 2012

Split Chickpeas & Bottle Gourd { Channa Dal with Lauki }

Asian green grocers are full of such a variety of vegetables, that it can be really confusing, but in a bid to cook less meat, i have been left with no choice but you try new ingredients. 

The above veggie, which i had seen many times, but still wondered - what the hell is it? and what family does it belong to, still not sure on that one, but I would liken it to a courgette, a very big one at that.
Its widely known as the bottle gourd .{lauki or ghiya in Hindi/Urdu & dudhi in Gujarati}

I have made this once before, just on its own, with some simple spices, onions and tomatoes, and it turned out quite nice and light, but i wanted to make it a little more hearty, and i think this recipe does just that, with the addition of lentils.

As with most vegetables I have found that they really shine, with the mot simple of recipes, needing only
some spices to bring out the flavour.

350/12oz/11/2 cup channa dal {spilt pea lentils}
6 cloves of garlic
1cm 1/2in ginger
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons groundnut {peanut} oil
1 medium onion chopped
2 green chillies chopped
1/1/2 teaspoons of cumin/coriander seed mix
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
300ml/10fl oz crushed canned plum tomato's and juices {about 3 quarter of a can}
1/2 tablespoon corridor leaves plus extra to serve
1 small bottle gourd { buy one that feels hard and heavy for its size}
1 teaspoon lemon juice more to taste

enough for 4 with rice

Wash the lentils, put in pot with 4 cups of cold water, bring to simmering point and simmer gently till tender but still in shape {about 20 - 30 mins}add more water if need be, you don't want the pan to boil dry.

While the lentils cook, make your masala - crush or grind the garlic and ginger to a paste, heat the oil in a pan and fry onions till golden brown, then add the ginger garlic paste & chopped chillies, stir for a few moments then add the cumin & coriander seeds, turmeric, tomatoes, salt and coriander. Stir to combine.
Now add the bottle gourd, stir well & cover, gently cook till tender {about 15 to 2 mins} when the lentils are cooled stir them and the cooking liquid into the bottle gourd mix. Warm it through, careful not to over cook, add the lemon juice, to sharpen the flavors, finally sprinkle with coriander leaves.

Recipe taken from Cooking with My Indian Mother-in-law: Mastering the Art of Authentic Indian Home Cooking

* I did make few changes, instead of what was stated i used sunflower oil, 3 fresh tomato's and used less lentils only because i was cooking for less people. and only added coriander at the end, and a sprinkle of garam masala

cooking while taking picture was fun!

the end result...