Bottle gourd is known as lauki in Hindi and alabu or tumbi in Sanskrit. It is sweet, nourishing, unctuous, good for the heart, promotes the sense of taste, enhances semen production, supports the fetus, is strengthening, nourishing and aphrodisiac. It alleviates pitta. Excess consumption of lauki can aggravate vata and hence it should be balanced with vata soothing spices such as fresh ginger. Here is a great dal recipe using bottle gourd!
1 cup dry chana dal
7 cups water
½ teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon scraped, finely shredded or minced fresh ginger
4 tablespoons sunflower oil
12 pieces lauki
1 ½ teaspoons garam masala
1 ¼ teaspoons salt
½ tablespoon fresh lemon or lime juice
1 ¼ teaspoons cumin seeds
1-2 whole dried red (or fresh) chilies
¼-1/2 teaspoon yellow asafetida powder
6-8 curry leaves, preferably fresh
Sort, wash, and drain the chana dal. Place the chana dal in a bowl, cover with 3 cups of hot water and let soak for 5 hours. Drain.
Place the chana dal, 7 cups of water, turmeric, coriander, ginger, and a spoonful of the oil in a heavy 3-quart nonstick saucepan over high heat. (In Colorado use a pressure cooker). Stirring frequently, bring to a full boil.
Reduce the heat to low, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and boil gently for 1 ½ hours. Turn off the heat, uncover and add the squash and garam masala. Stir and continue to cook gently for 30 minutes or until the dal is soft and fully cooked and the vegetables are butter-soft.
Stir in the salt and lemon or lime juice.
Heat the remaining oil in a small saucepan over moderate to moderately high heat. When it is hot, add the cumin and red chilies. Fry until the cumin seeds turn brown.
Add the asafetida powder and curry leaves, cook for just 1-2 seconds and then quickly pour the fried seasonings into the cooked dal. Cover immediately and allow the seasonings to soak into the hot dal for 1-2 minutes. Stir.
Source: Adapted from- Yamuna Devi, Lord Krishna's Cuisine: The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking (New York: E.P. Dutton, 1987).
Alakananda Ma M.B., B.S. (Lond.) is an Ayurvedic Doctor (NAMA) and graduate of a top London medical school. She is co-founder of Alandi Ayurveda Clinic and Alandi Ayurveda Gurukula in Boulder Colorado, as well as a spiritual mother, teacher, flower essence maker and storyteller. Alakananda is a well known and highly respected practitioner in the Ayurveda community both nationally and internationally.
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