Lauki & Kala Channa Curry

(Bottle gourd and Black chickpeas cooked in spicy and tangy Tomato gravy)

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Prep Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 30 mins
Serves: 4-6

1 large Onion, finely chopped
1 medium Bottle Gourd (approx 4-5 cups)
1 can Black Chickpeas or 1 cup Dry Black Chickpeas cooked in pressure cooker
1 large Potato, cooked, peeled and roughly mashed
1 can Chopped Tomatoes or 3 Large Tomatoes, pureed
1 tbsp Kasuri Methi/Dried Fenugreek Leaves (Optional but recommended)
½ tbsp Jaggery/Brown Sugar (to balance the tartness of Tomatoes)
1 tsp Tamarind Paste (Adjust acc to taste)
1 tsp Garam Masala
1 tsp Kashmiri/Deghi Chilli Powder (Adjust acc to taste)
¼ tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tbsp Oil
Salt to taste

For Tempering:
½ tbsp Oil
½ tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds
½ tsp Mustard Seeds
¼ tsp Hing/Asafoetida
Few Fresh Curry Leaves
Trim the ends of Dudhi/Lauki/bottle gourd and peel it with a vegetable peeler. Slit it length-wise in middle so that you are left with two long pieces. With a help of a spoon, scoop out the seeds and the surrounding spongy mass carefully so that you are left with two dudhi ‘boats’. I left the seeds as they were very tender. Cut them into 1 cm slices as shown in the picture.
Heat a tbsp of oil in a flat pan and arrange bottle gourd slices so that they fir in single layer. Cook them on both the sides till they turn golden brown in colour and place them in a kitchen towel till required. Do it in batches so that you have evenly fried bottle gourd pieces. This step is purely optional. Skip this step if you wish.
Heat ½ tbsp of oil in a pan and add mustard seeds to it. When it starts to pop and splutter, add hing, cumin and curry leaves. Sauté it on medium flame till cumin starts to brown, about 30 seconds.
Mix in finely chopped onion and sauté it on medium flame till it turns golden brown, about 2 mins. Now add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, kasuri methi and garam masala and sauté it on low flame for about 30 seconds.
Pour in pureed tomatoes and mix well. Add jaggery and tamarind and mix well. Cook this at medium heat for about 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add cooked kala channa, fried dudhi and mashed potatoes and mix well. Mix in salt to taste and add about cup of water. Simmer and cook the curry, stirring occasionally, for about 15-20 mins till dudhi is cooked properly and flavours blend well.
Serve hot, garnished with chopped coriander leaves if desired, with Chapatti or Rice and enjoy. Tastes better the next day.