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Friday, December 16, 2011

Grandmom's Tetor Dal (Yellow Moong dal with Bottlegourd and Bittergourd)

IMG_9111Traditional bong meal is multi-course (around 7) and starts with a bitter food. The idea is that this bitter food cleanses the system and gets the taste buds ready for the good stuff follows. One of those first courses is tetor daal.

My didu (grandmom) used to make the best tetor daal. My mashi (aunt) tried (and still is trying) to match her moms finesse in this dish.


  • 1 cup split yellow moong dal
  • 1 bitter gourd or karela cut into thin round or half moon slices
  • Half bottle gourd/ lauki cut into medium sized chunks as shown in the photographs
  • 1/2 " ginger
  • 3,4 bay leaves
  • For tempering 1/2 tsp. of each of these following whole spices mixed together
    1. Radhuni/wild celery seeds
    2. Methi/fenugreek seeds
    3. Black mustard seeds
    4. Fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. radhuni/wild celery seeds (in addition to the 1/2 spoon mentioned above)
  • Ghee/clarified butter
  • Salt
  • Sugar


Wash the moong dal and boil it along with bottle gourd pieces, bay leaves, pinch of salt and two cups of water.

In a grinder make a paste of radhuni and ginger.

Meanwhile heat oil in a wok or Kadai and fry the bitter gourd slices till they turn crispy. Remove and keep aside. Discard the oil.

Heat 2 tbsp. of oil in a kadai and temper with 2 tsp. of the whole spice mixture. Once the spices start sputtering add boiled dal and fried bitter gourd. Let it simmer on medium heat for a minute.

Add ginger and radhuni paste to the boiling dal. Give a taste test and adjust salt and sugar accordingly.

Add a spoonful of ghee before you finish it off.

Note: In case you want to make this less bitter and want the little ones to also have it, add the fried bitter gourd at the very end.

Enjoy with steaming white rice and aloo-bhaja (Crispy fried potatoes).


Anindita said...

i dont have Radhuni/wild celery seeds. What can i use? Will kalo jeere work?

Somtapa Brahmachari said...

@Anindita, no kalojeera won't work. Skip radhuni / celery seeds keeping the rest same...