This delicious wholesome curry goes well with steamed rice. If chayote is tender, you may leave the peel on. You may cook the lentils and chayote in a pressure cooker to reduce the cooking time significantly.
SERVES 4 to 6
¾ cup/150g chana dal (husked and split Bengal gram), soaked in water for 1 hour
400g chayote, peeled, de-seeded and cut into bite-sized pieces
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
½ teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
10 fresh curry leaves
1 medium onion, finely chopped
5-8 medium garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 tablespoon peeled and finely grated fresh ginger
5-8 fresh green chilli peppers, halved lengthwise
2 teaspoons coriander powder
1 medium tomato, finely chopped
Salt to taste
1 cup/250ml coconut milk
1. Drain the chana dal and cook with 5 cups water until tender. Drain the lentils, reserving the cooking liquid.
2. Steam the chayote until just tender.
3. Heat the oil in a medium pan over medium-low heat. When hot, add the mustard seeds. When the seeds begin to splutter, add the cumin seeds and curry leaves and stir for 10 seconds or so before adding the onion.
4. Cook the onion until translucent. Add the garlic, ginger and green chillies and stir gently for 3 minutes. Add the coriander powder and stir for 2 minutes, until fragrant.
5. Add the tomato and cook for 2 minutes.
6. Add the drained chana dal and the steamed chayote to the pan. Add salt to taste and 1 cup/250ml of the cooking liquid and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and let simmer for 10 minutes.
7. Add the coconut milk, mix and bring to a gentle boil. Remove from the heat.
8. Serve hot.