If you have a local Asian market, you should be able to find lauki (bottle gourd) quite easily. It has a fresh, bright flavor and really brings the dish alive.
Daal Lauki (Gourd And Lentil Stew)
- 2-3 Tbsp Oil
- 3-4 Leaves Bay Leaves
- 3-4 Cloves Cloves
- 1-2 Pods Black Cardamom
- 1/4 Stick Cinnamon
- 12 Peppercorns Black Peppercorn
- Pinch Fenugreek
- 1 scant tsp Black Mustard Seeds
- 1/2 tsp Cumin
- 1 scant tsp (or to taste) Red Chili Powder
- 1 scant tsp Turmeric
- 160g Red Onion
- 14g Ginger
- 11g Garlic
- 8g (or to taste-these are spicy!) Thai Green Chilies
- 210g Tomatoes
- 3 heaping teaspoons Coriander Powder
- 160g Channa Daal
- 434g Lauki (Bottle Gourd)
- 1130g Water
- To taste Salt
- Handful Cilantro
1. For best results, soak your channa daal at least an hour before you cook this. We use pressure cookers here in India, but if you’re using a regular pot, it may be a good idea to soak the daal overnight or it will take ages to cook.
2. Make your masala. In a blender combine green chilies, ginger, red onion, and garlic. Blend until it’s a thick paste. You can add a splash of water to this to ensure everything is finely blended.
3. Peel and cut your lauki in quarters. De-seed it, and cut into bite size pieces. Set aside.
4. Heat your pot or pressure cooker and add oil. Let this warm over medium high heat for about two minutes.
5. Add the bay leaves, cardamom (green and black), peppercorns, cinnamon, and cloves. Let infuse for a minute.
6. Now add the fenugreek, black mustard seeds, and cumin. Sautee until the cumin starts to brown.
7. Add your masala, stirring infrequently to allow carmelization. I like to add a pinch or two of salt at this point to bring out the flavor and fragrance of the masala. Your kitchen will smell amazing!
8. While your masala is cooking, puree the tomatoes.
9. Once your masala is carmelized, quickly add the turmeric and red chili powder and infuse for thirty seconds or so.
10. Next, add the tomato puree.
11. Lower the heat to medium, letting the tomatoes stew. After the tomatoes turn a dark red, add the coriander powder and stir for another minute.
12. Drain your channa daal and add to the pot. Mix well and let the channa cook for about 5-10 minutes, stirring infrequently.
13. Now add the lauki, water, and salt. Put the lid on your pressure cooker and cook until the channa is soft (about 5-8 whistles is typical for my particular cooker). This may take around 30-45 minutes depending on how long your channa soaked for. If you’re using a regular pot, it may take longer, but the end result is worth the wait 🙂 .
14. Garnish with fresh cilantro, and serve with rice (add some lemon juice while your rice is cooking to pair perfectly with this dish!).
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Photo: Jessi Ferguson