Monday, September 27, 2010

Moong Lau (bottle gourd with fried lentils)

When it comes to veggies, like any other person I too try to choose the ones which seem apparently fresh. Frankly, I'm not an expert and 'am not able to judge them by just trying to feel the weight or smelling them. In this context, I do remember my dad doing these weird exercises when as a youngster accompanied him to the local market. I not only felt embarrassed but also as I grew older I realized the amount of time we could have saved in those trips. I could have used that time to make a better judgment in choosing the lipstick or nail polish color.

Anyway, now a days I try to make my wise choice by not buying the ones which look or feel weird. Bottle gourd or Lau is one of those veggies which apparently look fresh but could surprise you when kept in the refrigerator before cooking it. It is because it loses its moisture easily and is no longer eligible for being cooked. As soon as I realized this, I always make it the very next day I buy it. Originally, this recipe had never been my or the big boy's favorite. Hence, I decided to make some changes to it. These simple touches actually strengthened the flavor of this very old recipe and to my surprise, the big boy even started liking it!


  • Lau (bottle gourd) – 1 medium, grated or chopped fine
  • Moong daal – ½ cup 
  • Fenugreek seeds – ½ tsp 
  • Cumin seeds – ½ tsp 
  • Bay leaves(dried) – 2-3 
  • Green chillies (whole) – 2 to 3 
  • Turmeric – ½ tsp 
  • Garam Masala – ½ tsp 
  • Ghee – 1 tsp 
  • Oil for cooking 
  • Salt as per taste 
  • Sugar - ½ tbsp

  • Heat ½ tablespoon of oil in a pan. 
  • Add the moong dal in it and fry till they start to brown a little. 
  • Remove them from oil and keep aside. 
  • Now add about another ½ tablespoon of oil in the same pan and heat it up. 
  • Add the bay leaves, cumin and fenugreek seeds and wait till they splutter. 
  • Add the lau to it and stir to mix it well with the oil and the whole seeds. 
  • Now add the turmeric, salt and sugar. 
  • Cook the lau covered for about 5 minutes. 
  • When the lau is half done, add the fried moong daal to it. 
  • Cover and cook till almost done. 
  • Open the cover and let the excess water evaporate. 
  • Check the seasoning and adjust now if needed. 
  • Add the garam masala and ghee. 
  • Garnish with cilantro(optional) and serve with rice!

Originally, the recipe does not call for garam masala. You may skip this if you want it mild.