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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Doodhi Chanadal like my Mom used to make...


























Doodhi or Lauki as commonly known in India is Calabash. Lagenaria siceraria or Lagenaria vulgaris, the calabash, bottle gourd, opo squash or long melon (not to be confused with the calabaza) is a vine grown for its fruit, which can either be harvested young and used as a vegetable, or harvested mature, dried, and used as a bottle, utensil, or pipe. For this reason, the calabash is widely known as the bottle gourd. The fresh fruit has a light green smooth skin and a white flesh. Rounder varieties are called Calabash gourds.

The calabash was one of the first cultivated plants in the world, grown not primarily for food but for use as a water container. The bottle gourd may have been carried from Africa to Asia, Europe and the Americas in the course of human migration. It shares its common name with that of the calabash tree (Crescentia cujete).

In India, Hindu ascetics (sadhu) traditionally use a dried gourd vessel called the kamandalu. The juice of lauki is considered to have many medicinal properties and to be very good for health and very easy to digest. The Baul singers of Bengal have their musical instruments made out of it. The practice is also common among Buddhist and Jain sages.

Additionally this vegetable is used to make various dishes. Dhoodhi Kofta, lauki ki sabji, Morcorrum with dhoodhi, Dhoodhi halwa (dessert), Dhoodhi Raita and Dhoodhi with Channa dal are some of my favorites.

Here is how my mom used to make this vegetable side dish.



Ingredients



* 1 cup chana dal (yellow split gram)


* 3 cups of Water to soak dal and to boil in pressure cooker


* 1 teaspoon salt


* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda


* 1 medium bottle gourd (Doodhi/Lauki/Ghiya)


* 6-7 small Roma tomatoes


* 3 Serrano peppers


* 2" piece of ginger peeled


* 7-8 pods of garlic (optional)


* 2 tablespoon oil


* 1/2 tsp cumin seeds


* 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds


* 1/4 teaspoon of asafetida


* t sprig of curry leaves


* 3-4 small dried red chili pod


* 1 tsp turmeric powder


* 2 table spoon coriander powder


* 1 tsp cayenne pepper powder or to taste


* 1/2 teaspoon Salt or to taste


* 1/2 teaspoon of garam masala


* 1 teaspoon mango powder


* Freshly squeezed juice from 1 lime


* 2 teaspoons of sugar


* 2 tablespoon finally chopped cilantro leaves





Method



* Wash and soak chana dal for 30 min or more.


* Peel, wash and cut bottle gourd into ½ inch cubes.


* In a pressure cooker place dal with water, salt and baking soda in a container below and on top place another container with cubed gourd and 1/2 cup of water.


* Pressure cook both for 5-6 whistles (20 min.


* Let the cooker cool while you prepare the gravy.


* In a food processor chop and grind tomatoes, green chili peppers, ginger and garlic to fine paste.


* Heat the oil in a saucepan.


* Add the cumin seeds and mustard seeds in heated oil, when these crackle, add asafetida, and whole red chilies, stir for few seconds.


* Add tomatoes, ginger, chili and garlic paste to this and cook for 1-2 min.


* Add all the dry spices except mango powder and garam masala. Cook for 1-2 more min.


* Now open the cooled pressure cooker and gently mix boiled gourd and boiled chana dal.


* Add chana dal, bottle gourd, curry leaves, salt and desired amount of water to the tomato gravy.


* Cook for 2-3 min, add salt to taste if needed.


* Add sugar, mango powder and lime juice.


* Cook for another min or so.


* Turn the heat off and add garam masala, mix well and garnish with chopped cilantro leaves.


* Serve hot with plain white rice or with Chapati.




Description of the vegetable Calabash source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calabash
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Text_of_Creative_Commons_Attribution-ShareAlike_3.0_Unported_License


Recipe source: My dearest mom Mrs. Kasturben.

Photographs by Surekha.

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