Saturday, 27 July 2013

Split chick pea daal & bottle gourd curry

I'm starting this post with a confession, I have made this dish on countless occasions but never blogged it,  I made this for Iftar last night, (breaking of fast at sunset) as I thought of sharing this recipe I realised that although I knew in Urdu the name of the vegetable in question for this dish  .. but what of the English name ? Well I was totally clueless

How could I possibly post a recipe without knowing what i was referring to ? So I asked for help from my fellow Tweeters, thankfully the mystery was solved. This particular beauty is whats known as bottle gourd and looks like this , it's a much milder version of bitter gourd which is an acquired taste. The slight sweetness of bottle gourd works extremely well with the spice in a curry.

So here we go Channa Daal & Thoriyaah: (pronounced tho-ree-yah)

1 cup/ 125g channa lentils ( split chick pea lentils)
1 large bottle gourd
4 medium onions
1 tbsp garlic paste / 6-8 crushed cloves
2 tsp salt
1 tin chopped tomatoes
2 green chillies
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
125g butter

  • Start by washing the lentils till the water runs clear. Soak the lentils in a bowl with warm water*, whilst the lentils are soaking, roughly chop your onions and fry in a large non stick pan with butter
  • When the onions have softened, add in the garlic, salt & green chillies. Stir on a medium heat and  when the onions are golden brown, add in the tomatoes & curry powder. Add a splash of water, cover the pan and leave to simmer on a low heat for the tomato to soften 
  • Peel your gourd, chop of the stalk and bottom and give it a quick rinse under water. Cut the gourd in half lengthways, and then slice the 2 halves. Place to a side
  • Check back on your masala in the pan, if the onions have softened, then drain the water from the daal, add the daal to the pan.
  • Let the daal simmer on a low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, it should almost double in volume as the lentils cook through.Check that the lentils have softened by taking a few between your fingers and squashing. They should break easily without too much pressure. If they still feel raw, add a little water and leave to simmer on a low heat for a little longer.
  • When the lentils have softened** add in the sliced gourd & stir together. If most of the water has evaporated, and the daal is looking dry, add just enough water to cover the daal, cover the pan & leave to simmer on a low heat once more for about 20 minutes.***
  • Check back on the daal, the gourd by now should have softened & cooked through. The way to check this is that the colour of the gourd will have changed from white to them becoming see through, as well as being soft in texture. You can do the finger test with a slice of the gourd just as with the lentils earlier. 
  • When your gourd has cooked and softened, depending on the consistency, you can add a little water if it loos too dry. Serve with either plain boiled rice or my cumin rice

*pre soaking the lentils helps speed up the cooking, even if they are left for just half and hour it's a bonus 
** the lentils should be soft but not mushed, you want to try and keep the lentils whole
***whenever you cover up the pan, do remember to keep an eye on it so your daal doesn't end up sticking to the pan

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