Saturday, December 9, 2017

Padval and Moong Dal Subji

The vast panoply of produce at an Indian grocery gets my pulse going. I revel in bagging tendli or small gherkins. The dark green knobbly exterior of karela or bitter melon excites me. Methi leaves or fresh fenugreek has me drooling. Papdi or broad beans brings ghada to mind. All these emotions along with a host of memories, brings me to padval. I seem to be running a green streak, the dominant color present in all of the above veggies!  

Padval is stranger to those unfamiliar with Indian vegetables. Loofah like, it grows vertically on frame. The English name is reptilian...snake gourd! Buy a foot-long piece or feed a raft of people with a three foot padval. Spongy when squeezed, the pulpy insides need to be scraped and discarded before you cook it. Like you would clean a squash or pumpkin. It tastes delicious sauteed as a side dish, stuffed with potatoes or even fried like calamari rings.  I plan to cook some as a simple accompaniment to dinner.

I soak moong dal for a few hours. Sliced padval is sauteed with cumin seeds, onions and tomatoes. Simple it is!

Serves 4

1  Padval or Snake Gourd, 12 inch long
1/2 cup Moong Dal
2 tablespoons Canola Oil
1/2 teaspoon Cumin seeds
1 Onion
2 small Tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon Turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon Chile powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt

Rinse moong dal well. Add 2 cups water to dal. Let dal soak for an hour or two.

Trim ends off the gourd. Cut gourd into 3 inch pieces. Slice the pieces vertically.

Scoop out the pulp and seeds with a spoon. Discard the insides.

Cut the gourd into 1/8 inch thick half moons.

Mince onion finely. 

Chop tomatoes finely.

Heat oil in a saucepan.

When it is hot drop cumin seeds and sizzle till they turn dark brown.

Add onions and saute till translucent.

Throw padval into the pan and saute for a few minutes.

Drain water from moong dal and add dal to the saucepan. 

Turmeric and chile powders are stirred into the vegetables as well.

Season with salt.

Add chopped tomatoes.

Pour 1/2 cup water into the saucepan. Cover pan and cook vegetables for 15 minutes.

Uncover and gently press the dal to see if it is cooked. The dal should be mushy but still keep its shape.

Scatter fresh cilantro leaves over padval and serve as part of Indian meal. 

We spoon some over a mound of rice. We scoop some with a bit of roti. Versatility and simplicity personified. 

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