Pumpkin and moong dal hit it off beautifully together. Mild to taste, the two combine an wide array of flavors very well. This recipe of pumpkin moong dal makes the most of this attribute, with its luxurious use of curry leaves and masalas.
- Pumpkin – 250 grams
- Yellow moong dal* – 1/2 cup
- Tomatoes – 2
- Onions – 1
- Sambar powder – 1/2 tablespoon
- Tamarind – coin-sized piece
- Jaggery – 1/2 teaspoon
- Salt – to taste
- Green chili – 1 (more if you like)
- Curry leaves – 1 small bunch (about 20 leaves)
- Asafoetida (hing) – 1/2 teaspoon
- Mustard seeds – 1 teaspoon
- Oil – 2 teaspoons
*You could make-ahead the dal and use a cupful for this recipe, as I have done.
In the picture above: Sambar powder, boiled moong dal, curry leaves, tomatoes, onion, green chili and a slice of pumpkin.
How To Make Pumpkin Moong Dal:
1. Boil the dal
Wash moong dal well. Soak in a cup of water for 20minutes. Drain, rinse and boil till it is well-cooked. [If using an Indian pressure cooker, boil half a cup of moong dal with a cup of water till one whistle, then on low heat for another whistle.]
Take out from your fridge a cup of made-ahead boiled moong dal.
2. Cook the pumpkin
Chop onions into small pieces. Slit green chilies vertically.
Chop pumpkin into cubes (about 1/2inch pieces), without peeling the skin. [The green of the skin adds a pretty pop of color to the dish and helps the pumpkin cubes to retain shape even well-cooked.] Chop tomatoes into similar-sized pieces.
In a kadhai or skillet, heat two teaspoons of oil. When the oil is hot, add mustard seeds. Let the seeds splutter, then add a quarter teaspoon of asafoetida and ten curry leaves. Stir around for a few seconds, then add chopped onions and slit green chilies.
Sauté the onions for a few minutes on medium heat, till they are translucent. Add chopped pumpkin and tomatoes next. Stir well.
Add a pinch of salt and cook covered for 6-7 minutes, stirring in between – check that the vegetables don’t stick to the pan.
Add tamarind to the pan.
Stir the tamarind well into the vegetables. [If using dry tamarind, break it into bits or soften it in a tablespoon of warm water before adding.]
Pour half a cup of water to the skillet and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer for a minute.
Add the dry spice powders to the pan: half a tablespoon of sambar powder, half a teaspoon of jaggery powder, a quarter teaspoon of asafoetida.
Stir the spices well to make sure that no lumps are formed. If in doubt, dissolve the dry spices in a little water, making a paste out of it and then adding the spice paste to the pan.
Cook the pumpkin along with the spices for another 4-5 minutes, or till the pumpkin is fully cooked.
3. Put it all together
At the end, add cooked moong dal to the cooked pumpkin. Throw in another ten curry leaves. Bring the pan to a boil.
Simmer for two minutes to let the flavors blend.
Pumpkin moong dal is ready to serve. Have it on its own as a one-pot meal, or with some plain rice on the side.