Thursday, September 27, 2012

Channa Dal with Zucchini

Typically this bengal gram, channa dal, is made with an Indian variety of squash known as opal. In this version, I make it with a more readily available green squash, zucchini. For the past few months our crisper was full of zucchini and we wanted light, barely cooked summer meals. But now, with autumn in the air, a bowl of dal with some late summer zucchini sounds just about right.

What I love the most about channa dal is how creamy it gets during the cooking process and the delicately spiced flavors, onion, garlic, ginger and Indian spices. This creaminess makes it completely different from the typical toor dal you will find on menus at most Indian restaurants.

Other dal recipes you might enjoy:

Channa dal with zucchini
1 cup channa dal
2 tbsp canola oil
pinch of asofetida
bay leaf
1 tsp cumin
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 tbsp garlic
1 tbsp ginger
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp red cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground coriander
fresh lemon juice to taste
1/4 tsp garam masala
2 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced into 1/4" half moons

Rinse and pick over the dal. Pressure cook with 2 cups of water, for 15 minutes. Heat a small skillet over medium high heat and add 2 tbsp canola oil. Once the oil is shimmery, add cumin seeds until fragrant, then add bay leaf and a pinch of asofetida and cook for 30 seconds. Add onion, garlic, ginger, cooking for 5 minutes until onions are soft. Find a spot of oil in the pan and add turmeric, red cayenne pepper, and ground coriander, cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add zucchini, stirring to coat well. Continue to cook for 8-10 minutes, until zucchini is tender. Season lightly with salt and set aside.

Once dal is cooked, add some water to thin if necessary. Bring to a simmer, and pour zucchini mixture over dal, stir to incorporate. Continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and fresh lemon juice to taste. Finish with garam masala and remove from heat.


  1. Perfect on a cold day:)

  2. good recipe


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