Cold-Cure Dal with Louki

This is a recipe for a chilly day, when you feel shivery, spaced out, as if you might be getting a chill or a head cold. Louki is a smooth green gourd that is demulcent and rejuvenative. Its astringent and slightly bitter taste benefits pitta and kapha. The spices in this recipe have been specifically chosen to kindle agni, burn toxins, promote sweating, strengthen the lungs and sinuses and drive out cold and damp. Enjoy!


  • 1 cup red lentils

  • 4-6 cups water

  • One bottle gourd (louki) peeled and cubed (you can also use overgrown zucchini)

  • 1" piece peeled and grated fresh ginger

  • 1 tsp turmeric

  • 2 tbsp ghee (Learn how to make ghee)

  • 2 royal black cardamoms, lightly crushed open

  • 1" piece cinnamon stick

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1 tsp garam masala

  • 1-2 tsp cumin seeds

  • Half teaspoon fenugreek seeds

  • 1 pinch hing

  • 1 tsp jaggery or muscovado sugar

  • 1-2 whole dried red chillies

  • 1 handful chopped cilantro

  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped

  • 6 curry leaves

Serves 4-6


Wash the lentils carefully. In a large pan, boil together the lentils, tomatoes, ginger root, turmeric, half the ghee, cardamom, cinnamon stick and bay leaves. When the lentils begin to break up, add the louki. Alternatively, for a quick recipe, pressure-cook the dal with the above ingredients and meanwhile, steam the louki.

In a wok or frying pan, heat the rest of the ghee. Turn the burner to warm and add the cumin seeds, then the fenugreek seeds. When they have browned, add the sweetener and chillies, and then the hing and curry leaves. Immediately add to the cooked lentil-louki mix. It will sizzle as you add it. Cook for ten minutes more to let the flavours mingle. At the last minute, drop in the cilantro and add salt to taste. Serve over basmati rice.

Cold cure dal with Green Tomato Chutney and Pumpkin Sabzi with Peanuts and Coconut .

Louki - Bottle Gourd

Louki - Bottle Gourd

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.

Enliven your holistic health! Visit Alakananda Ma in Alandi Ashram’s ayurvedic clinic to support the overall rejuvenation of your body, mind, and spirit. In-person and virtual appointments available. Book now!