-- Written by Shanthini Rajkumar
The last few months of the year is a time when families eat comforting bowls of warm gravies with rice or roti; the spices are infused into hearty meals with robust flavours. The weather sparks the cravings for meals that are complex in flavours and textures.
The Indian rasoi caters to a mouthwatering array of dishes for every season. Lentils often find a place of prominence among the list of ingredients which are allowed to simmer and develop over a slow flame.
The Chana Dal, also known as Bengal gram, is a lentil which adds a delicious flavour to the foods it is paired with. The shape and size is just right to make all sorts of side dishes.
It is also referred to as chickpea lentils and adds confusion when having to differentiate in English, from the chickpea (kabuli chana).
Here's a family recipe for you - a gravy made with the yellow pumpkin, whole milk paneer and cooked chana dal. This recipe is easy to make, high on flavour and will quickly become a family favourite!
Recipe - Chana Dal, Paneer and Pumpkin Curry
Yellow pumpkin -1/2kg cut into cubes with the skin
Paneer - 200 gms crumbled
Chana dal- 1C soaked for 3 hours and cooked until soft
Curd - 2C
Ginger and garlic paste - 2 Tbsp
Cardamom - 3
Dried red chillies - 5
Turmeric powder -1 tsp +1/2 tsp
Red chilli powder - to taste
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves -1/4C chopped fine
Cinnamon - 1 stick
Cloves - 2
Onions - 2 thinly sliced
Cold pressed oil of choice - 2 Tbsp
Mix the pumpkin cubes with 1C curd, 1 Tbsp ginger and garlic paste, salt, ½ tsp red chilli powder,1/2tsp turmeric powder and let marinate for 30 minutes.
Heat oil in a deep kadhai. Add the cardamom, cloves and cinnamon. Add the dried red chillies.
Once it sizzles, add the sliced onions and saute until soft. Add the remaining ginger and garlic paste and mix.
Saute for a few seconds.
Add the crumbled paneer and saute until well coated.
Add the marinated pumpkin and mix well.
Add the remaining curd and mix thoroughly.
Add turmeric powder, chilli powder and salt.
Add 2 C water and mix.
Cover and let cook until the pumpkin is soft.
If necessary, add more water if the water is reduced and the pumpkin is not soft.
Once the pumpkin is cooked, add the cooked chana dal and mix.
Let it cook for 5 minutes.
Taste and check for salt and spice.
Add the chopped coriander leaves. Mix
Take off the flame.
Serve hot or warm with rice or any soft rice based dish like uthappam, idiyappam, akki roti, appam etc.
The gravy is like a medium thin broth, high on flavour, delicious creamy with amazing texture from the Chana Dal!
A must try!