Some years ago I came across a great recipe for “Moong Dal with Doodhi” in a cookbook written by a family friend in Hyderabad. It somehow occurred to me that I could adapt the recipe substituting zucchini instead of doodhi, an Indian vegetable that is difficult to find here. The zucchini is practically invisible in this dish so perfect for those who don’t care for vegetables!
It is flavorful, fast and simple to prepare and also freezes well. It is a perfect side dish with dinner or you can roll it up in a chapati or pita bread to make a wrap.
3/4 cup yellow moong dal, washed and set aside
2 cups coarsely grated zucchini
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 dried red chili (or fresh green chili)
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 – 1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 tablespoon coconut powder (unsweetened), optional
Cilantro leaves, chopped, for garnish
Mix the dal and zucchini in a bowl and set aside for 1 hour.
Heat oil in a 1 1/2 quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and red chili. When the mustard seeds start to splutter or pop*, add the dal and zucchini mixture and stir for 3 minutes.
Add the turmeric and about 1/4 cup water, cover and cook over low heat for about 5 minutes until nearly dry.
Add salt, chili powder, cumin powder and coconut powder – stir fry for about 2-3 minutes until done.
Garnish with chopped cilantro.
*Note: Make sure your oil is hot when the seeds go in—if they heat up with the oil, they’re likely to overcook and burn without popping. When the seeds start popping, I put on a lid or splatter guard until they stop, then add the other ingredients to cool down the pan. Don’t keep the lid on too long though, as mustard seeds can burn quickly.