Wadi aur Lauki wali Chana Daal / Split Gram with Bottle Gourd and Lentil Chunks
My husband got back this weekend after meeting his parents in India. He went there carrying one cabin bag, came back with an extra suitcase. My sister sent me some great Indian suits, jewellery and edible stuff that I like. Although, we get a lot of Indian groceries here, but I just love getting things from Home. One thing that she always sends me is ‘Punjabi wadi‘ or ‘wadiyan’ as we call them.
Three years ago, CFIA found the Indian wadiyan contaminated with wheat. As far as my memory extends back, wadis are and were always made with lentils, squash and some spices. I don’t get, why do some companies have to play with the health of people, when there is no need to mix wheat flour in wadi mixture and if they do, why they hide?
Since 2011, no new reports have come, that means wadis still have traces of wheat. I don’t want to take the risk of experimenting with every company’s wadi, so prefer to get them from India. My sister buy them from a reliable family who works on a small scale and for sure they don’t add wheat in wadis. These wadis come with varying degrees of spicy-ness and find its way into many vegetarian preparations in the traditional Punjabi cuisine.
Lentils, of course are the staple in Indian cooking. They are prepared almost daily with some rice, flatbread and a vegetable, accompanied with some yogurt, pickle and a light salad. They are so satisfying, wholesome and nutritious that many times vegetables and grains are mixed for added benefits. In summer, we Punjabis cook chana daal / split gram with lauki/ bottle gourd and wadiyan. Bottle gourd is a great vegetable in itself to incorporate into your diet for its numerous health benefits but has a very mild taste, as a result, it blends beautifully in chana daal and the end product is a creamy, wholesome and absolutely delicious daal.
Chana daal can be cooked in a pressure cooker or pot to a consistency you want. You will notice the daal in pictures is quite thick, that’s how we like it with chapatti , the same daal is made thinner like soup when serving with rice. Once the daal is thoroughly cooked with the lauki pieces not sticking out prominently, it is spiced with tadka, which is very much important to create that oomph factor. Tadka is generally prepared by heating desi ghee, to which some essentials like cumin, onion and wadi are fried. The tempering changes the flavor, aroma and spiciness……. and you will be amazed at how tiny pieces of wadi added to it can completely ‘ lifts’ up the taste of daal.
We enjoyed a typical summer lunch on Sunday accompanied by hot weather refreshment- lassi.
A scrumptious combination of chana daal and lauki, spiced with a tempering of wadi/ dried lentil chunks.
- 190 g (I cup) chana daal/ split gram
- 185 g ( 1 cup diced) lauki/ bottle gourd or ash gourd
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- salt as per taste
- 1 tbsp ginger and garlic paste
- onion(1/4 cup) chopped
- 1 wadi / dried lentil chunk
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3/4 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp red chili powder
- 1 tbsp tomato paste or 1 tomato chopped
- 1 tsp garam masala (optional)
- cilantro for garnish (optional)
- Rinse chana daal and dice lauki, Place it in pressure cooker with salt, turmeric, ginger garlic paste and 3 cups of water.
- Pressure cook for 15 minutes ( If you are new to pressure cooking check my saag post to see how it works) on medium heat.
- Turn off the heat and put cooker aside for cooling. Meanwhile prepare tadka.
- Heat oil in a pan or pot (wide enough to hold cooked daal). Break one wadi into 1/2 - 1" pieces. We'll need only 4 pieces if it is spicy. Fry them in oil, once they start changing color to reddish brown, remove them in a bowl with slotted spoon.
- Add cumin seeds, let them splutter a little before adding onion, cook until golden brown.
- Add turmeric, red chili powder, tomato paste and wadi along with 1/4 cup water. Cook for a couple of minutes until oil glistens.
- Open the pressure cooker and immediately add the chana daal and lauki mixture to the pan. Stir.
- Add 1 cup hot water and bring it to boil on medium heat. Cook for few minutes for the flavors to blend in.
- You can add a tsp of garam masala if you want, garnish with cilantro to serve.
If you are cooking without pressure cooker, remove white scum which appears on daal while boiling, then add lauki and cook till tender. You can adjust the texture to a thinner soup or thick, just by adding more water or cooking a little longer.
Linked to Gluten free Fridays.