Curries · Food · Free from Fridays · Indian/Asian Cuisine

Free from Friday’s: Lentil dal with bottle gourd and spinach.



Bottle gourd also known as Dudhi , Lauki, Calabash, opo squash or long melon is a long green vegetable full of hidden benefits. Made of over 90% water makes it very easy to digest. In the Ayurvedic world, bottle gourd is known to be cooling, calming, rich in vitamins and minerals, popular for weight loss , reducing blood pressure and maintaining a healthy heart. These are just a few benefits of this wonderful but underused vegetable. My child hood memories of this vegetable  was my mum’s special dudhi and chana curry (Bottle gourd and chickpea dal curry) one delicious curry enjoyed with hot roti’s off the stove dripping in ghee. Honestly I would relish 5-6 roti’s at a time, Sitting around the Jiko which is a charcoal stove and enjoying hot roti’s is a memory that will never fade, I too wish that some day I could share this exact experience with my kids, it was a wonderful way to eat together and socialise.

In this recipe, combining bottle gourd with spinach, lentils and spices brings a healthy, flavoursome and nutritious meal to the table that can be enjoyed by the whole family. This dal can be enjoyed as part of a complete meal with rice, roti and vegetable curry or even on its own. Sometimes a quick and easy but equally nutritious and filling meal is just whats needed. Are you sometimes pushed for time and wish you could make a quick meal for all to enjoy?  When you see a recipe calling for lentils do you think oh gosh that’s going to take ages? Well allow me to share my secret with you on how to create recipes requiring lentils in a short space of time, it’s simple I am reliant on my pressure cooker. If you don’t own one then it’s definitely worth investing in one, you can create wonderful dishes from soups, dals, curries and much more cutting your cooking time by half if not more.
This recipe is gluten free, dairy free, egg free, free from nuts and sesame seeds.

Lentil dal with bottle gourd and spinach

Serves: 4-6
Preparation time:15-20 minutes
Cooking time:40-50 minutes

100g ginger peeled
20 garlic cloves
2 green chillies
120g Yellow split mung dal washed well
150g Toovar dal (pigeon peas) washed well
100g Masoor Dal (red lentils) washed well
100g Fresh spinach finely sliced
2 Medium onions diced
150g Chopped tomatoes
150g Bottle gourd peeled and diced
800ml Water
2 Tbsp Virgin coconut oil
2 Tsp cumin seeds
2 1″ piece of cassia sticks
2 Tbsp ground coriander and cumin
1 Tbsp turmeric powder
2 Tsp garam masala
1 Tsp mustard seeds
Salt to taste

For tempering:
8-10 curry leaves
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 dry red chilli
1 Tsp cumin seeds


1. In a pressure cooker add mung dal, toovar dal and about 600 ml water. Secure the lid and place the whistle, cook on medium heat for 2-3 whistles. The dals should be cooked but still slightly firm.
2. In a seperate pot, bring water to boil, add red lentils and cook for 10-15 minutes until cooked.
3. Once the dals are cooked set aside, drain some of the water from red lentils.
4. Mince the garlic, ginger and chillies together and set aside.
5. In a deep pot and on low to medium heat add coconut oil, cumin seeds, cassia and mustard seeds, once the seeds start to crackle, add the onions and fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the minced garlic, chilli and ginger and saute for another 1-2 minutes.
6. Add ground spices, stir until well incorporated, add the chopped tomatoes, mung dal, toovar dal, masoor dal, bottle gourd and remainder of the water.
7. Add salt to taste and stir, cook the dal on low heat for 20-25 minutes until it starts to slightly thicken.
8. For the tempering, in a seperate small pan, heat the oil, add the cumin seeds, once they crackle add the curry leaves and red chilli. Pour this in the dal mixture and stir.
9. Serve this dal piping hot with roti or rice. If you have a gluten allergy then why not try these delicious Gluten free Roti’s.


2 thoughts on “Free from Friday’s: Lentil dal with bottle gourd and spinach.

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