Lauki chana dal is bottle gourd cooked with split chickpea lentils in a very tasty, thick tomato gravy. Paired with roti (Indian bread) or plain rice, it is a simple and healthy meal that can be made easily on a weekday in your instant pot. A 100% vegetarian and vegan recipe!
This soupy veggie + lentils magic called lauki chana dal. I’m SO LOVIN’ it right now!
It’s a bottle gourd recipe that resurfaced after ages as I was flipping through my old cookbook one evening. I remember jotting it down many moons ago when my mom used to make it. Not because I cared for anything to do with bottle gourd back then (how tastes change!), but because I wanted to keep a record of all of my mom’s favorite, go-to recipes.
Anyhow, there it was, staring at me, and I decided to make it for old times’ sake. To my surprise, it turned out great. Husband and kids loved it. So I made it again. And then again. Truth be told, I fell in love with it!
Why on earth didn’t I like this lauki recipe before? Not much clue (under-developed taste buds?) but here’s why I’m so enamored now –
- It’s made of real, wholesome stuff that’s good for you – we’re looking at thick chunks of bottle gourd and lentils cooked in a delicious, full-bodied onion-tomato sauce, and topped with some fresh greens.
- It tastes of bright sunshine and warm, lazy days – the humble lauki is a spongy summer vegetable that’s 96% water, and chana dal has the earthy, nutty taste of roasted chickpeas. Add to that the tang of ripe tomatoes + the slight sweetness of onions + a little spice, and you get a beautiful dance of colors and flavors in one perfect dish.
- It’s pretty darn simple to make in your instant pot or stove-top pressure cooker – it’s an easy, one-pot, 30-minutes wonder if ever there was one. Prosaic but worth noting.
Ingredients in lauki chana dal recipe
- Bottle gourd, peeled and cut into chunks – choose a green, unblemished piece. Here’s more info on bottle gourd if you’re interested.
- Chana dal, washed and soaked in water – also called split Bengal gram. As the name suggests, it is made by hulling and splitting chickpeas and hence tastes a lot like chickpeas. This article answers all your questions on chana dal.
- Ginger and garlic pastes – available in small jars in most big stores.
- Red onion, sliced fine.
- Tomato, chopped.
- Red chilli, coriander and turmeric powders – the usual suspects of Indian cooking.
- Cumin seeds
- Green leaves of your choice for garnishing – cilantro or parsley.
- half a lemon
- Cooking oil
- Sea salt
Soaking the chana dal – an important pre-step
Wash and soak the chana dal in 1 cup water. As you’re going about the rest of the steps in the recipe, the chana dal will be ready to put into the cooking gravy.
Chana dal takes a longer time to cook than lauki. Soaking it softens it and makes sure that both the dal and lauki are evenly cooked in the instant pot.
Let’s make lauki chana dal curry
1. Turn the instant pot to saute mode and add the cooking oil to the inner pot. Add cumin seeds and sliced onions and fry until the onions have just started caramelizing.
2. At this point, add the ginger and garlic pastes, tomatoes and powdered spices and cook for 5 minutes. Add splashes of water to prevent the masala from sticking to the bottom of the pot. The tomatoes will break down and the masala will become shiny and thick.
3. Add the chana dal along with the water in which it was soaked and cook for another 5 minutes. Turn off the saute mode.
4. Add the chopped lauki, salt and half a cup of water if required. Press the pressure cooking mode (‘manual’ button in some models) and make sure the vent is in the closed position. Secure the lid and set the timer to 5 minutes. Release the pressure after 5 minutes (QPR), and take off the lid.
5. Take it out in a dish and sprinkle some lemon juice on top. Garnish with chopped green leaves of your choice, and serve warm with Indian bread or rice.
Other vegan Indian recipes you might like
Lauki Chana Dal (Bottle Gourd Curry with Lentils)
Bottle gourd with chana dal is a tasty and healthy vegan meal made quickly in the instant pot.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: Serves 4 1x
- Category: Brunch/Dinner
- Method: Instant Pot
- Cuisine: Indian
- 1 medium bottle gourd, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 cup chana dal
- 1 tsp ginger paste
- 1 tsp garlic paste
- 1 medium onion, sliced fine
- 1 medium tomato, chopped
- 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp red chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 tbsp coriander powder
- 1/4 cup cooking oil
- 1 sprig cilantro or parsley
- half a lemon
- sea salt, to taste
- Soak the chana dal in 1 cup water. Peel and chop the bottle gourd, onion and tomato (5 minutes).
- Turn the instant pot to saute mode and add cumin and onions. Fry until the onions are just beginning to caramelize (5 minutes).
- Add the ginger and garlic pastes, tomato, powdered spices and a little water to prevent the masala from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Cook this masala until thick and shiny (5 minutes).
- Add the soaked chana dal along with the water and cook again (5 minutes). Turn off the saute mode.
- Add the lauki, salt and a little water if required. Secure the lid, turn on the pressure cooking mode and make sure the vent is in sealing position. Set the timer to 5 minutes. Once the timer goes, release the pressure after 5 minutes (QPR).
- Remove the lid, take out the lauki chana dal in a dish and garnish with cilantro or parsley. Sprinkle a little lemon juice on top. Your lauki chana dal is ready to be served with some warm Indian bread or rice.
- You can buy ginger and garlic pastes from the market or make your own. Since this recipe requires both, you can make them together. Put equal quantities of peeled ginger and garlic in a blender along with some water and blend to get a smooth puree. Keep refrigerated in a glass bottle and use as required. Use one tablespoon in this recipe if making your own paste.
- Calories: 197.5
- Sugar: 1.9
- Sodium: 325
- Fat: 14.5
- Saturated Fat: 1
- Unsaturated Fat: 12.2
- Trans Fat: 0
- Carbohydrates: 12.6
- Fiber: 4
- Protein: 1.8
- Cholesterol: 0
Keywords: bottle gourd curry, lauki recipe, lauki and chana dal, vegan Indian recipe
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