Al Hach (Dried Bottle Gourd)

Al Hach (Dried Bottle Gourd)

Kashmir due to its extreme winter conditions has seen the tradition of drying fruits and vegetables since forever. The sun dried and dehydrated vegetables are the winter delicacies of Kashmir cuisine, relished by all. Almost all vegetables are dried in their season to be consumed in the long harsh winters later. Tomatoes (Run’wagan Hac’h), bottle gourd (Al Hac’h), aborigine (Wan’gan Hac’h) are some of the most common and loved ones, to name a few.The dried food of Kashmir is very much loved and cherished, because of the unique taste it lends to the dish.

These dried foods are generally cooked with dal (pulses) and mixed with other dishes as well. Cooking is an art with unlimited creativity, you just need to click on the right stuff! Once you get the taste of this dried delight, you can do your own mixing 'n' matching.

This is an easy recipe of Al Hac’h with red lentils (masoor dal that can be tried even by the beginners.

You would need the following
1) Dried Bottle Gourd - 15-20 strips
2) Red Lentils-2 cups
3) Black cardamom-1(crushed)
4) Onion-1 large one(chopped)
5) Tomatoes-2 (chopped)
6) Green chilies-3 (cut lengthwise)
7) Lemon-1
8) Coriander leaves-2 sprigs(chopped)
9) Ginger garlic paste-1 tablespoon
10) Red Chili Powder-1 tablespoon
11) Turmeric powder-1 tablespoon
12) Water
13) Oil
14) Salt to taste

Rub the dried gourd with hot water to remove any dust particles and then wash them properly. Keep red lentils washed too. Set them aside and proceed with the following:

1. Boil some water in a kettle. Take the dried Al strips or round pieces in a utensil and pour the hot water over the dried bottle gourd strips. Keep it aside for 30 minutes.

2. Take a pressure cooker and heat the oil in it.

3. Add to it, the crushed black cardamom and onion. Sauté those till the onion turn pink.

4. Add tomatoes and fry them for a few minutes.

5. Add salt and fry for few minutes till oil separates from the onions and tomatoes.

6. Now add the ginger garlic paste and mix them well.

7. Add turmeric and chili powder.

8. Now add red lentils and Al Hac’h to the pressure cooker and mix well.

9. Add water and close the lid of the pressure cooker.

10. Cook under the pressure for some time.

11. Check whether the lentils are cooked well or not.

12. Sprinkle the coriander leaves over the cooked lentils.

13. Extract the lemon juice and add it to the lentils.

14. Serve the lentils with the cooked rice.

Enjoy the dish with friends and family :) :)

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