Monday, December 7, 2015

Yellow Split Peas Cooked with Bottle Gourd Leaf (লাউডগা দিয়ে মটর ডাল)

This is one of my favorite lentil (dal) preparation which I tasted after a really long time. We don't get bottle gourd leaf / laupata here very often. Actually this is the first time in the last 7 years, that I even saw this in a store. During my last visit to a Bangladeshi store, I found this and almost jumped up with joy! There are so many different preparations of laupata (লাউপাতা) that we Bengalis eat. But I particularly wanted to have this laudoga diye dal which my dida used to make. I was craving for this dal from a long time now. Let me tell you that when I crave for something, I start dreaming about it; I see it so many times in my dreams that it increases my cravings even more! So I was decided that I was going to prepare laudoga diye dal.

I wrote about my mamabari earlier and how my dida used to cook over mud/clay stove. We had a big front-yard and a back-yard where we had different type of trees bearing fruits, vegetables and flowers. There were coconut trees, beetle nut trees, jackfruit trees and even a mango tree among many more! Pumpkin and bottlegourd plants were there too. Dida used to get fresh laudoga from the back-yard and cook dal in iron pots over clay stove, which always added a unique taste and aroma of it's own in every dish. Oh boy! How I miss those golden days now! Don't we get surprised how small things can bring back so many memories! So I decided to relive those memories, that joy & happiness, those old times with this simple dal. And I want to share this joy with all of you by sharing my grandma's recipe today. It's a very simple recipe but the taste is incomparable to anything else. I am sure you will love it too!

Matar Dal (মটর ডাল)/ Yellow Split Peas - 1/2 Cup
Lau pata (কচি লাউডগা)/ Bottle Gourd Leaf - A bunch (take leaves which are young & bright green in color)
Green Chilli - According to Taste
Dry Red Chilli - 1 or 2
Ginger - 1 Tbsp (Chopped)
Nigella Seeds / Kalojeera - 1/4 Tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/4 Tsp
Salt - According to Taste
Sugar - 1/2 Tsp
Oil - 1 Tsp
Ghee - 1 Tsp

I have used both the leaf and stem for this dal. You can cut the leaves in half if it is too big. Remove the outer scales of the stem, and cut it into small (2" long) pieces.
Wash the lentils thoroughly. Add salt, turmeric powder and water to it. Pressure cook it just about right, as we will again boil the dal after adding the leaves.
Once the cooker releases all the pressure, open the lid and blend the dal. I have used a wooden blending stick for this. If you are using electronic blender, then take care not to blend it too smooth. We want a coarse consistency for the dal.
Add the leaves, stems and slitted green chilies into the dal and cook it uncovered on a medium flame until the the leaves and stems are cooked through.
Next heat oil in a kadhai.
Add dry red chillies and nigella seeds and fry until you get an aroma oozing out of it.
Next add the chopped ginger and continue to fry.
Now add the dal into this, mix everything well and cook it uncovered on a low flame until you get the desired consistency.
Do a taste test. Add salt if needed.
Finally add ghee and sugar. Mix well. Serve it with plain rice.

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