Like most of typical marathi families, I was totally committed to my ‘phon-ni cha waran’, which is essentially toor/ arhar daal. You eat it day and night, every day of the week – unless someone is sick and needs moong daal or it is Sunday-special chole. Post wedding, my soul-mate also became my daal-mate – come what may, he needed his bowl of toor daal everyday, for normal functioning of his faculties. We both kept lapping it up happily till my gestational diabetes days. I was given a strict diet chart to follow and toor daal was a ‘no no’ – reason being its high glycemic index. I was advised to go for different daals, which had more fiber and most important was the emphasis on chana daal, because of its low glycemic index. A bag of 5 kg chana daal was procured asap and I began including chana daal in our staple diet. Both me and hubby started to like the flavor and texture. Since potatoes were banned too, I mostly ate lauki / bottlegourd. It is then that I started making lauki chana daal and the combination suited me too well – it was healthy, could be eaten with rotis and thick enough to be carried in my lunch box to work. The love for this veggie-lentil combo continues till date, to the extent that N buys 2 laukis every time ( I know you will make one with chana daal. Make a veggie side out of the other one!). Trust me, it is so filling that I sometimes skip the roti and eat a bowlful of this daal as a meal in itself. Thankfully, even baby A loves it with rice and I feel happy about feeding lauki to her in this form.
Lauki / bottlegourd – 1, green and fresh
Chana daal – 2 cups
Tomatoes – 1 big or 2 small
Adrak – half inch piece
Green chilies – 2, slit length wise
Whole, dried red chilies – 2 (optional)
Meetha Neem (Kadi Patta) – a handful of fresh, green leaves (optional)
Haldi – 1 tsp
Heeng – 1 tsp
Jeera – 1 tsp
Rai – 1 tsp
Salt – as per taste
Lemon juice – of half a lemon (optional)
Oil – half tbsp
1. Peel and chop the lauki to small pieces – smaller they are, the better they blend with the daal. Discard the middle portion flesh of the lauki if it looks pale and has big seeds.
2. Wash the chana daal twice with flowing water.
3. Put both lauki pieces and daal in a pressure cooker. Add 3 cups of water. Also add in haldi and salt.
4. Grate the tomatoes or chop them fine. Grate or pound the ginger. Add both of them to the pressure cooker.
5. Close the pressure cooker and cook till 4 to 5 whistles. Remember that chana daal takes longer to cook through.
6. Let the pressure subside and open the cooker. Mix everything lightly using a ladle.
7. Heat oil in a pan.
8. Once hot, add the rai and jeera and let them splutter for 10 seconds. Add the heng, green chili pieces, dried red chilies and kari patta leaves (if using). Let this mixture sizzle for a 30-40 seconds.
9. Add the cooked daal-lauki to the pan. Add more water if required. Taste and adjust seasonings.
10. Let this simmer on a sim flame, till it reaches a soupy consistency. Add the lemon juice towards the end.
11. Serve with rotis or rice or eat as it is.
Different lentils mentioned in this post –
Toor / arhar daal = yellow pigeon peas
Moong daal = green gram
Chana Daal = split Bengal gram
Chole = chickpeas