Podalangai (Padavalanga / Snake Gourd) is one vegetable I always pick up from my vegetable-shopping trips to Little India. More than our love for the vegetable, the mere fact that it's not available in the supermarkets near our place makes me reach out for it each time.
The last time I bought it, I forgot another major ingredient that's required to make podalanga kootu. Coconut! I wasn't prepared to give up the texture of the channa dal either. Here's what I ended up. Something of a kootu with snake gourd but without the coconut and no need for any grinding. All hail lazy, quick recipes.
Snake Gourd / Podalanga Masala RecipeMakes ~ 3 cups
Preparation time: 10mins
Cooking time: 30 mins
2 cups of snake gourd, peeled, cleaned and cut into small squares
1/2 cup of channa dal / kadala paruppu
1 small of onion
1 tsp of jeera / cumin seeds
1 tsp of red chilli powder
1/4 tsp of turmeric powder
1 pinch of hing / asafoetida
1 tbsp of oil
1/4 tsp of mustard seeds
2 dry red chillies
A few curry leaves
1 tsp of garam masala (optional)
How I Made It:
1. Add the chopped snake gourd pieces and the washed channa dal to a pan with 4 cups water. Bring to boil, add turmeric, and simmer until the snake gourd is cooked soft and the channa dal is firm yet crushes between your fingers. This will take about 10-15 mins. Ideally, let all the water evaporate while cooking. I don't like draining this water because you lose all the nutrients that way. If you still have excess water after the ingredients are cooked, just keep flame on high and let it evaporate while stirring constantly.
2. Heat oil in another pan and add the mustard seeds. When they pop, add the cumin seeds and let them sizzle for 5-6 seconds. Then add the red chillies and chopped onion. Cook until the onion pieces turn soft and transparents - about 3mins.
3. Now, add the red chilli powder, hing, curry leaves, and the cooked snake gourd / channa dal mix. Add salt, mix well, and cook on low fire until the ingredients come together, nicely roasted. If using, add garam masala and mix well before removing from fire.
Serve hot with rice and some kozhambu of choice.