Channa Shreela Konkani is a typical and delicious Maharashtrain/ Konkan dish made with Channa Dal and Ridge gourd cooked in spicy creamy thick gravy. It’s an excellent dish, flavourful and nutritious. A very easy dish to cook and a must try recipe.
Ridge gourd is a juicy vegetable which belongs to the same family as cucumber and bears a slight resemblance to it. Ridge gourd is known by various names in different regions of India. It is called as turai in Hindi, Dodka or Shirale in Marathi, Ghosale in Konkani, Heeraikai in Kannada, Peechinga in Malayalam and Peerkangai in Tamil.
The ridge gourd is an extremely popular vegetable in the Asian, African and Arabic countries and is also known by other names such as loofah, luffa etc. This vegetable is originally believed to be originated in the Arabic desserts and then spread throughout the world. It has a dark green, ridged vegetable having white pulp (flesh) with white seeds embedded in spongy flesh. Mostly all species of ridge gourd are edible and must be eaten before they mature or else they become woody and fibrous to eat.
In India, there are a variety of dishes made with ridge gourd. Ridge gourd is used for preparing the Beerakaaya chutney or Beerakaaya pappu which are popular is Andhra region. In Maharashtrian cuisine, the ridge gourd curry is prepared either using roasted peanut powder/ fresh grated coconut or with lentils. Ridge gourd also blends well with other leafy veggies, recipes like Ridge gourd and fenugreek leaves, Ridge gourd tomato and urad dal, Beerakaya Mulakkada kura (ridge gourd and drumstick curry), Turai beerakai with milk and many more delicious and mouth watering dishes. You could also prepare typical and yummy chutney with the peel of the ridge gourd (ridge gourd skin chutney) and flesh separately. Both chutneys, though made from ridge gourd, differ widely in their texture, taste and properties but both have a unique and fantastic flavour. Ridge gourd when added to lentils has an excellent taste and adds nutrition to the dish.
Chana dal or Bengal gram dal bean looks just like yellow split peas, but is quite different because it doesn’t readily boil down to mush. It’s more closely related to garbanzo beans, or chickpeas. Chana dal is delicious, nutritious and easily digested, and is used in both savoury and sweet (chana dal halwa) dishes. These legumes are also roasted and powdered into chickpea flour (besan) which is widely used for making a variety of pakodas, bhajjis and kadi etc.
Channa dal is actually a type of split lentil often used in Indian cooking as a thickener. It has a rich and meaty flavour. When added to veggies, it enhances the flavour of the dish and gives a nutty taste. Channa dal is used for making the traditional dishes from Gujarat state, i.e. Dhokla or Handwa. Channa dal tastes extremely delicious when added to vegetables like bottle gourd, cabbage (channa cabbage), tindora (tindora and channa masala), brinjal (baingan channa dal) etc. Channa Shreela dish makes a healthier and nutritious dish, mildly spiced and delicious to eat. This curry goes well with roti, rice or any type of bhakri. This is a simple dry curry spiced with green chillies, red chilli powder, garam masala and the special spice from Maharashtra region namely Goda masala and finally sauté off with some freshly grated coconut to give a nice soothing sweetness to complement with the spices.
To prepare this traditional Maharashtrian Channa Shreela Konkani recipe, firstly wash ridge gourd and peel its sharp edges and hard skin. Cut into small bite size pieces. Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, chopped green chillies, chopped garlic and sauté them well. Add finely chopped onions, pinch of hing and sauté till it becomes translucent. Add turmeric powder, red ginger chilli powder, goda masala, little garam masala, mix all spices and add the ridge gourd pieces.
In this add 1 cup water and salt to taste. Cover the pan with the lid and allow it to cook for few mins until the ridge gourd is soft and tender. After 10 mins of slow cooking, add in the boiled channa dal and mix well. Adjust the consistency. Check for seasoning and allow it to come to a boil. Add 2 tsp of fresh grated coconut, mix and garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Switch off the flame and the dish is ready to be served. Serve with any type of Indian flat breads like roti, chapatti or paratha and rice.
Channa dal along with Ridge gourd is more of a comfort food and eating lentils and vegetables together is great for good health and works wonders on your palate. The channa dal interspersed with the vegetables to create a nice medley. Needless to say, this is a very easy and nutritious side dish that can be prepared in a jiffy.
At the nutrition level, this dish is wholesome because of the beta-carotene in vegetables. Ridge gourd has a sweet taste; it is cooling in nature, light and easy to digest. It is low in saturated fat and cholesterol, high in dietary fibre, vitamin C, riboflavin, zinc, thiamin, iron, magnesium and manganese. Chana dal is high in fiber and help to lower cholesterol. Chickpeas are low in fat and most of it is polyunsaturated. Chickpeas are a helpful source of zinc, folate, calcium and protein. Apart from having a great taste, it also has a very low glycemic index, which is important for those with diabetes.
Do try this recipe. Click to watch the video on making of Channa Shreela Konkani: