Serve warm garnished with extra coriander leaves.
What are Choyotes?
Chayotes are light green pear shaped fruit common in Mexican cuisine and are found in many warm climates. Chayotes are cultivated as vines and they belong to the gourd family together with cucumber and squash (See picture of Chayote Plant below). It has a mild flavor and crisp texture. It is either eaten raw in salads or cooked.
Chayotes have high water and fibre content and are relatively low in natural sugars. They are also prized for being high in Vit C, potassium and amino acids.
Because of is mild flavor, chayotes are quite versatile and can be cooked or baked in many ways. They can be added to dressings, casseroles, pickled, fried or even stuffed. They are very often used as a substitute to summer squash in many recipes. Here I have used chayotes in an Indian lentil curry. It makes a plain lentil curry healthier and gives a different look and texture to the curry.
Ingredients (Serves 4)
1/2 cup split husked mung bean (Moong dal)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
3 stalks of coriander leaves chopped
1/2 chayote, cut into big cubes
1 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp chilli powder
Salt per preference
More coriander leaves for garnishing
Boil the mung beans with the cubed choyote in pressure cooker. After the first whistle reduce fire to the lowest and wait for 3 -4 mins. Then increase fire all the way to max and when the cooker whistles, stop the fire. Alternatively, it shouldn't take more than 10 mins to boil the mung bean in a pot with the choyote.
Take another pot, heat the oil and fry the cumin seeds.
Then add the onions and fry till translucent.
Add in the spice powders and salt and let it cook for 2 mins.
Add in the coriander leaves and pour in the cooked mung bean and choyote.
Let it cook for 2-3 mins and switch the fire off.
Serve with rice, wholemeal flatbreads (Chapathis) and a side vegetable dish.
Scallion (Spring Onion) Lentil Curry is a super easy lentil curry to cook with so few ingredients. It is simple and easy on the stomach with no chilli involved at all - be it as a powder or as a vegetable. Ranya (my older daughter) loves this dal and has been her favorite since her toddler days. We had a good helper when we were living in Singapore - Auntie Gloria - who makes this lentil curry very well.
Ingredients (for 4)
1 tbsp. canola oil
1 cup orange lentils (masoor dal)
1/2 tsp ginger garlic paste
1 small tomato , cubed small
3 stalks spring onions, sliced small
3/4 tsp turmeric powder
Salt per your preference
Boil the orange lentils in pressure cooker for 3 minutes after the first whistle or in a pot for around 10 mins.
Heat the oil in a small pot and fry the ginger garlic paste for a few minutes.
This will then be followed by the spring onions.
Spring onions don't take a long time to cook, thus add in the turmeric powder and salt now.
Give it a few minutes and then add in the cooked dal with the cubed tomato.
Stir and let the flavors combine well.
Switch off the fire in 3-5 mins and serve warm garnished with extra spring onions and tomato cubes.
Ridge Gourd is also called Loofah or Luffa. It is really a dark green ridge vegetable on the exterior with white seeds embedded in the white spongy flesh. It is the fruit of a fast growing warm climate vine plant (See picture below). It tastes rather mild thus it absorbs any spices it is cooked in. This gourd must be eaten before it turns mature otherwise, the flesh will turn woodsy and fibrous to consume. The mature ones are the source of the Luffa scrubbing sponge used widely for polishing our skin (See picture below).
Ridge Gourd has a number of health benefits as in it helps to purify our blood, alleviate constipation, fortifies our immune system among others. Ridge Gourd Lentil Curry or Luffah Dal Curry is an easy curry using only a few ingredients.
Ingredients (serves 4)
1/2 cup Toor Dal (Pigeon Peas)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp. canola oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 red chilli (seeds removed), sliced thin
3 stalks of coriander leaves, chopped
1 tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste
1 small ridge gourd (around 10 inch), peeled and sliced thin
1 cup water
Boil the pigeon peas or toordal in pressure cooker for 10 mins till soft and slightly mushy. Don't overcook the lentils. Set aside.
Take a medium sized pot and heat the oil.
Fry the mustard seeds and when it starts to splutter, add in the onion and the red chilli.
When the onion has browned add in the turmeric powder and salt.
After a few minutes, add in the sliced ridge gourd and pour 1 cup water. Let the ridge gourd simmer and cook for a few minutes.
After 5-10 minutes, add in the cooked toor dal and chopped coriander leaves and mix well.
Switch off the fire after 3 minutes of simmering and your Ridge Gourd Lentil Curry is now ready for your savoring. Serve garnished with more coriander leaves with a side vegetable dish and pickle.
Mint & Coriander Chutney (yields 1 cup)
1 cup mint leaves
1 cup coriander leaves
1/2 inch ginger
1 green chilli
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup yoghurt
Method for Mint & Coriander Chutney
Place all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. This chutney can be served with any Indian fried fritters or Samosas or even as a side with main meals.
Hi guys! I'm Nilofar Iyer and I have shared my dishes here for you to cook for your own family and friends with love and most importantly with their long term good health in mind.