Chana daal is preferred in north during the winters since it is supposed to keep your body warm (that is what I have heard while growing up and I certainly do not know how true this belief really is) and bottle gourd during summers for its cooling properties. Chana daal brings out the best in bottle gourd and as a matter of fact an amalgamation of the two results in a creamy and tasty daal. 

Bottle gourd is a vegetable which is very light for the digestive system. It is quite a bland vegetable so it needs plenty of support from other ingredients/ spices and a healthy dose of chillies to make it taste good !!

Here is an easy and tasty recipe:

For Daal:
¾ cup chana daal
1 cup bottle gourd (chopped)
500 ml water
Salt to taste
¼ tsp chili powder (mine is very hot, you can adjust the amount according to the heat of your chili powder)
½ tsp turmeric powder
For tempering:
1 medium sized onion (finely chopped)
5-6 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
½ inch ginger (finely chopped)
¼ tsp cumin seeds
2 dry whole chillies
2 bay leaves
1 small tomato (optional)
½ tsp coriander powder
½ tsp garam masala powder
2 tsp oil (if using non-stick pan) or 1 tbsp oil

In a pressure cooker put together all the ingredients written under ‘for daal’ category. Pressure cook till the cooker gives two pressure whistles. Turn of the heat. The daal and bottle gourd will not look well assimilated at this stage.
For tempering, heat the oil and add bay leaves and cumin seeds along with dry chillies. Once the cumin starts to splutter and red chillies take on a darker shade, add onion, garlic and ginger. Sauté till they become brown.
 Now, add grated tomato or tomato puree (2-3 tsp) and stir the contents for half a minute. Add this tempering to the daal and stir it well.
Keep the daal again over fire on high flame and once it starts boiling, reduce the flame and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes or till the contents are all well assimilated and look creamy. Add garam masala to the daal. 

Transfer the daal in a serving bowl and add freshly chopped green coriander leaves. AND! this is what a typical Punjabi would do to the daal- pour over a tea spoon of melted clarified butter over the daal while serving. I did that too 🙂  ENJOY!!

Note: Make the daal at least half an hour before you intend to serve it. This daal needs some resting time to let its consistency become creamy. If the daal turns thick, boil some water and add it to the daal. 

Serves 3-4

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