Friday, May 11, 2012

Cholar Dal Diye Lau - Bottle Gourd with Bengal Gram

I have found one good expression for 'dowry' in Facebook, which has become quite a hit and received innumerable shares. It goes like this - “Dowry" stands for

D - Donkeys

O - Of the first order

W - Who can't stand on their feet

R - Rely on their wives riches

Y - Yet shameless

with a noteworthy closure " Be a man, not beggar to ask dowry." Dowry as it seems is still quite apparently practiced in urban India. In fact, I have seen and heard guys discussing about the things earned through dowry. Pretty disgraceful that such evil custom which has resulted in the slaughter of so many innocent women is still in vogue in our country. Even young educated outwardly modern guys with good family background accept dowries without shame and qualms.

In the context of dowry, I feel so proud of being the daughter of a man who fell in love with a fatherless daughter and married her without accepting a penny from her family. In fact, it was my father who bought my mother her wedding jewelries. He, as we have heard joyfully, gave his heart to our mother at the very first glance. I must admit my mother looked ravishing in her heydays.

Ingredients:                                             Cooking time: 45 minutes
ü  1 bottlegourd or lau, large (deseeded, cut into cubes)
ü  150 gm of cholar dal or Bengal gram (soaked for 4-5 hours)
ü  1 medium size onion (chopped)
ü  1 tsp ginger paste
ü  1 tomato (chopped)
ü  2 tsp cumin powder
ü  1 tsp turmeric powder
ü  1 tsp dry red chilli powder
ü  1 tsp garam masala powder
ü  5-6 green chillies (chopped)
ü  2 tsp sugar or more as per your liking
ü  Salt to taste
ü  White oil for cooking
For sauté:
ü  1 tsp black peppercorns
ü  1/2 tsp cumin seeds
ü  A pinch of asafoetida or hing powder
1) Parboil the cholar dal or Bengal gram in microwave for about 15 minutes. Drain the water and keep aside.
2) Heat oil in a wok. When oil turns piping hot, add the ingredients for sauté and wait till they begin to sputter.
3) Add onions and shallow fry till onion changes color. Add ginger paste and stir in to mix.
4) Slide in the lau. Add the spices - cumin powder, turmeric powder and dry red chilli powder. (Don't add salt now. I have noticed that lau takes time to soften if you mix in salt in the very beginning of your cooking.) Pour in the parboiled cholar dal. Cook covered till lau begins to soften.
5) Add tomatoes and green chillies. Combine. Again cook covered till lau is tender. (Usually lau discharges water which helps it being cooked. However, in case the mixture turns dry, add 1/2 cup of water.)
6) Add salt and sugar. Sprinkle garam masala powder on top.  Mix in and cook for 1 minute more.
7) Serve hot with roti, chapati or rice.

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