Snake gourd with lentils (podalangai kootu) is common in many Indian homes but different cooks have their preferred dhal to make this dish.
To find out how our Food writer, Esther Chandran learnt this recipe, read her story at Star Food.
- Dhal ingredients (A):
- 100g chana dal (split chickpeas)
- 50g split mung bean
- 800ml water
- ½ red large onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, slivered
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp salt
- Vegetable ingredients (B):
- 3 tbsp ghee/vegetable oil
- 3 dried chillies, sliced into big pieces
- 1 sprig curry leaf
- 2 green chillies, sliced into big pieces
- ½ tsp mustard seeds
- ¼ tsp fennel seeds
- 1 inch ginger, slivered
- ½ red large onion, sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, diced
- 1 snake gourd, approximately 60cm, seeded and sliced in half rings
- ¼ tsp salt to taste
- ½ cup water, as needed
- Wash chana dhal and soak in water for two hours or more.
- Transfer soaked dhal to a deep pot. Also add rinsed mung beans and approximately 600ml water. Reserve some water for later.
- Add 1 tsp turmeric powder, 3 cloves garlic and ½ large red onion to the pot.
- Let the ingredients come to a boil. Add 1 tsp salt and turn the heat to low. Chana dhal can take up to an hour or more to cook.
- Check the dhal to see if it is cooked by tasting the lentils to ensure they are soft and not raw. The split mung beans will be thoroughly cooked and will meld into the dhal.
- Keep the dhal on low fire. If it thickens, add some boiled water.
- Put the desired amount of ghee into a pan on the stove.
- Once ghee is hot, add 3 dried red chillies and curry leaves. These will crackle in the oil.
- Speedily add fennel and mustard seeds and green chillies into the pot and stir to allow the aromatic flavours to combine.
- Then add ginger and sliced onions and allow these to cook for a minute or so before adding the garlic. This is to prevent the garlic from burning as it cooks fast. Add salt.
- Once the onion sweats, add the snake gourd and cook.
- Close the pot and reduce the flame to allow the vegetable to cook thoroughly.
- Once the snake gourd has changed colour to deep green, turn off the heat. Do not overcook the snake gourd. Taste it to ensure it is still slightly crunchy. Add an extra 1 tbsp ghee if needed.
- Add cooked snake gourd to the dhal and stir.
- Taste and add salt if needed.