This tasty Lauki Chana Dal is a North Indian Punjabi style curry made with bottle gourd (calabash), chickpea lentils, tomatoes, chilies and spices. This curry has a depth of flavor, is tangy and a bit spicy. I have cooked it in a stovetop pressure cooker but can be easily made in a pan or Instant pot. Serve this mouth-watering and healthy gravy with a side of roti or paratha.
Table of Contents
About Lauki Chana Dal
Lauki chana dal is a quick and easy Punjabi curry that I like to make regularly. Sometimes I also like to make the sabzi with Punjabi wadis instead of chana dal.
To make this recipe, soak the chana dal for a while before cooking it to allow it to soften properly. I prefer to make lauki chana dal in a pressure cooker but you can also make it in a pan or instant pot adding water as required.
Like most curries, this dish can be customized to suit your taste. If you are a spice lover like me then feel free to add a few extra green chilies for some heat and if you don’t like spice then skip the chilies altogether. In addition, if you don’t have bottle gourd then this recipe can be made with zucchini instead.
I always try to make my meals as nutritious as possible so lauki and spinach are my healthy go-to veggies because they cook quickly and are easy to find. Most of the time when I cook with lauki I always have leftovers so I like to make Lauki Kofta and Lauki Curry.
Lauki chana dal sabzi can be served alongside roti or paratha.
How to Make Lauki Chana Dal
1. Rinse and soak ¼ cup of chana dal (bengal gram or split and hulled black chickpeas) for at least 45 minutes to 1 hour. Drain the water and keep the lentils aside.
2. Heat 1.5 to 2 tablespoons of oil in a 2 litre stovetop pressure cooker. Crackle ½ to ¾ teaspoon of cumin seeds.
Use any neutral flavored oil. You can also use ghee instead of oil.
3. Add 1 medium-sized onion finely chopped onion (about ½ cup chopped onions) and saute stirring often until they become translucent.
4. Add 1 inch of finely chopped ginger, 1 chopped green chili and saute for 10 to 15 seconds.
5. Now add 2 medium-sized finely chopped tomatoes (about 1 cup finely chopped tomatoes).
6. Add ¼ teaspoon of turmeric, ¼ teaspoon of red chili powder, ½ teaspoon of garam masala powder and a pinch of asafoetida (hing). Continue to stir and saute until the tomatoes soften.
7. The oil will start to release from the onion-tomato masala.
8. Add ¼ cup of chana dal, 1.5 to 2 cups of peeled and chopped lauki (bottle gourd) and salt as required.
Note: Keep in mind that lauki should not taste bitter. If it tastes bitter then please discard it.
9. Stir and mix very well.
10. Then pour ½ to ¾ cups of water into the pressure cooker and stir.
11. Cover the pressure cooker with the lid and cook for 4 to 5 whistles on high heat. If there is a lot of liquid in the sabzi, then simmer it without the lid to allow the liquids to dry. The curry should have a medium consistency.
Once the pressure drops on its own in the cooker, then only remove the lid. Add the coriander leaves and stir. Alternatively, you can garnish the curry with 1 to 1.5 tablespoons of coriander leaves. You can add more coriander leaves if you prefer.
Serve lauki chana dal sabzi hot or warm with roti or paratha.
Expert Tips for Lauki Chana Dal
- Chana dal: It is also known as bengal gram or black chickpea lentils. They are a type of legume. For the best results when cooking, soak chana dal for at least 30 minutes in water. This will allow the lentils to absorb water and help them to cook faster. Make sure you rinse the lentils before cooking. Also try to use unpolished lentils for best taste and nutrition. They should be in their shelf life and not rancid or aged.
- Zucchini: Bottle gourd is usually used in this dish. However, it can also be swapped with zucchini. Both vegetables have a similar neutral taste, are healthy and add body to the curry.
- Green chilies: I always like to add some kick to this curry by adding green chilies. I chop them up finely and saute them with ginger before adding the chana dal. This makes the curry even more warming and comforting but, of course if you don’t want a spicy curry then skip the chilies.
- Cooking: In this recipe I have prepared the lauki chana dal in a stovetop pressure cooker but feel free to cook it in an instant pot or pan instead. Just remember to add water as needed. All of these methods result in a mouth-watering lauki chana dal!
Lauki is a Hindi word that translates to bottle gourd or calabash in English. Bottle gourd is a light green vegetable with a high water content. It has a mild neutral flavor and has a similar texture to cucumber.
Chana dal is a much-used lentil in Indian cuisine to make various dishes. They are basically black chickpeas lentils and that are husked and split. The powdered form is called as besan (gram flour).
Feel free to make sabzi using yellow cucumber instead. You may be you need to add less water to the curry as dosakkai tends to have high water content.
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Lauki Chana Dal
- 1.5 to 2 cups chopped lauki (bottlegourd)
- ¼ cup chana dal (split and husked bengal gram or split chickpea)
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1 green chili, chopped
- 1 inch ginger, finely chopped
- ½ or ¾ teaspoon cumin seeds
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ¼ teaspoon red chili powder
- ½ teaspoon punjabi garam masala or regular garam masala
- 1 pinch asafoetida (hing) – optional
- ½ to ¾ cup water for pressure cooking
- 1.5 to 2 tablespoon oil or ghee
- 1 to 1.5 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves
- salt as required
Soaking chana dal
- Rinse the chana dal in fresh water a couple of times. Then soak the chana dal for atleast 30 minutes to 45 minutes.
- Drain water from the chana dal and keep aside.
Making lauki chana dal
- Heat oil in a stovetop pressure cooker. Crackle the cumin first.
- Add the onions and saute stirring often till they become translucent.
- Add the ginger and green chilies and saute for 10 to 15 seconds.
- Now add the tomatoes and all the dry spice powders. Saute till the tomatoes soften. Keep on stirring.
- The oil should start releasing from the onion-tomato masala.
- Now add the chana dal and stir. Add the chopped lauki (bottle gourd) and salt as required. Pour water and stir.
- Cover with the lid and pressure cook for about 4 to 5 whistles on a high heat.
- If there is lots of liquid in the sabzi, then simmer without the lid to dry the liquids.
- This lauki chana dal gravy has a medium consistency.
- When the pressure drops on its own, then only remove the lid and stir the chopped coriander leaves.
- You can also garnish the curry with coriander leaves. Serve lauki chana dal hot with phulkas or rotis.
- To make lauki chana dal curry in a pan, add about 1.5 cup water and cover and cook. If the water dries up whilst cooking you can add some more water.
- Ensure that the lauki is fresh, tender with a mild neutral taste. If the lauki has a bitter taste then don’t use it and discard it.
- Instead of oil you can use ghee.
- We prefer this curry to be slightly spicy. But if you can’t tolerate spicy food then skip or reduce the green chilies and red chili powder.
- The chana dal should be in the shelf period. Don’t use rancid or aged chana dal.
- The consistency of the curry is medium. But if you want to make a semi-dry or slightly thick lauki chana dal ki sabzi then add less water.
Nutrition Info (Approximate values)
This Lauki Chana Dal post is from the archives (December 2013) and has been republished and updated on 11 September 2021.