Saturday, May 13, 2017

Lau Diye Tetor Dal / Bengali Lentils with Bottle Gourd and Bitter Gourd

As we bought a bag full of bitter gourd from a fellow Indian here in Abidjan, I can’t stop but reminisce my days of extreme enmity with this particular veggi. I didn’t like this bitter vegetable in any form or shape. I had to chew it under strong scrutinizing eyes of my mother and then I used to gulp down a large glass of cold water to get rid of that taste and to have that sweet aftertaste.

Tetor Dal is a Bengali staple during the summer and it is said to have cooling and antioxidant properties as well.

As I cooked the Uchche Dal and had the first sip of it, almost after 4 long years,  all the small and childish memories came gushing around and I couldn’t help but giggle alone in my kitchen while sipping more of that strong bitter yet heavenly aromatic ghee infused soupy lentils.

Lau die Tetor Dal / Bengali Style Lentils with Bottle Gourd and Bitter Gourd
Serves 4

5-6 small bitter gourds
1 medium bottle gourd – peeled and cut into medium cubes
½ cup of yellow split lentils / mung dal
1 tsp panch foran / Bengali five spices
A pinch of radhuni
1dry red chilli
¼ tsp grated ginger
1 tbsp ghee
1 tbsp oil
2 tsp turmeric powder

Wash the lentils until clear water runs through.
Wash the cubed bottle gourds.
Put the washed lentils in a pressure cooker and add some salt and 1 tsp turmeric powder. Add 1 cup of water to the lentils.
Add the cubed and washed bottle gourds to them.
Pressure cook the lentils up to 3-4 whistles. Switch off the flame and let it sit until the pressure settles down. Once the pressure escapes, open the lid.
Heat oil in a kadai and throw in the sliced bitter gourds into the oil.
Sprinkle some salt and the remaining turmeric powder and cook them on medium flame for about 3-4 minutes or until they change their colour and become soft. Once they are done, take them out of the kadai and keep them in a separate plate / bowl.
Add the ghee to the remaining oil.
Add the panch foran, radhuni and dry red chilli to the hot ghee.
As the seeds start to sizzle and splutter add the grated ginger to them.
Sauté for about 10 seconds and pour in the cooked lentils and bottle gourd.
Stir and mix and wait until the bubbles start to appear.
Add about 1 cup of water to thin out the consistency. The daal should have a soupy thin consistency, so add water according to that.
Add the fried bitter gourds and simmer for about 3-4 minutes more.

Taste and adjust the seasonings and switch off the flame.

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