If you enjoy Indian food (it’s not too spicy, I promise), you’ll love this recipe from my current favorite cookbook Lord Krishna’s Cuisine: The ARt of Vegetarian Cooking. There are a few hard-to-find ingredients in this one, though. If you are in Austin, you can acquire chana dal, curry leaves and hing (asafetida powder) at Ghandi Bazar. As far as shopping experiences go, this one is low key and the folks there are really nice and full of useful cooking tips, too.
Chana Dal Puree with Tender Gourd Cubes
1 cup chana dal or yellow split peas (soaked for 5 hours)
7 cups water
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon scraped , minced ginger root
4 tablespoons ghee or unsalted butter
1 1/4 pound Cucuzza squash, peeled, seeded and cut into cubes
1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon or lime juice
1 1/4 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 or 2 whole dried red chilies
large pinch (1/8 teaspoon or less) hing
6-8 curry leaves
Step One: Place soaked, rinsed peas, 7 cups of water, turmeric, coriander, ginger root and 1 tablespoon ghee in a heavy 3-quart nonstick saucepan over high heat. Bring to boil, stirring frequently, then reduce heat to low. Cover and boil gently for 1 1/2 hours. Then add squash and garam masala and cook gently for another half hour or until squash are very tender. Stir in salt and lemon juice.
Step two: Heat the remaining ghee or oil in a small saucepan over moderated to moderately high heat. When hot, add cumin and red chilies. Fry until the cumin seeds turn brown. Add the hing and curry leaves and cook for 1 or 2 seconds and then quickly pour the fried seasonings into the cooked dal (careful, it’s gonna POP). Cover immediately and allow the seasonings to soak in for about 3 minutes and then stir.
Step three: Serve with rice and enjoy!