While summer calls for mango indulgences it also needs a balancing act with main course dishes. This bhaaji is a perfect summer dish, made with the water laden dudhi or bottle gourd. It is one vegetable I resist even now as an adult. In the last many years of my cooking, my veggies are made as simple as possible, without too much onion tomato paste even the traditional koli ground coconut masala is rarely used. If at all my coconut curries are made only on the weekend, I cannot deprive Dad and the elders of their favorite foods , so I do make them once in a while.
This curry is yet again a Koli authentic one but without the coconut masala. Traditionally deskinned moong dal is used but to add more fibre and texture to the curry I used skinned moong dal. Note it is not whole moong, it is skinned split moong ki dal.
It's very simple to make and it's the first time I ever liked bottle gourd, in all it's simplicity so thought it would be a good idea to share it here.
500gms bottle gourd, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup skinned moong dal (not whole moong)
2 medium sized onions, chopped
few curry leaves
1 large tomato
1 green chili
1/2 teaspoon Koli masala
or (1/2 teaspoon garam masala+1/2 teaspoon red chili powder)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoon oil
salt to taste
Place a deep vessel like a taup/ pateli/ saucepan on fire. Heat the oil. Fry the curry leaves, chopped onions to translucence. Add the cubed bottle gourd and the chopped tomato, mix to coat with oil. Add the koli masala and the slit green chili. If you need more heat increase the masala amount. Add the turmeric. Then the dal. Give a stir and top up with 2 glasses of water. Cover and cook till the dal looks fluffed up and just about to crumble. Keep the water content just a bit. Salt the dal and mix well. Boil to rolling for 2 mins and put off heat. Cover and let the flavors steep for atleast 20 mins before you serve.
Do not mash, you will enjoy the fibre from the skinned dal and the coconut masala is not missed in this healthier version of a Koli traditional dal.
Enjoy you summers without health hassles by including more cooling veggies, like cucumbers, all types of gourds and greens in your food! Needless to say stay hydrated you all.