Cucumbers are one of the most widely available vegetables during summer. Its available in the market throughout the year but it’s most beneficial during summer season. From yummy dishes to DIY masks as anti-tan to cool soothing detox water cucumber can be used in numerous ways. Its health benefits are known to all. Do you know the total number of dishes in a Bengali kitchen that can be cooked with cucumber? Well, even I don’t know completely. We use it in niramish sabzi (mixed vegetables), laabra, in almost all types of dal (lentils), cucumber raita is also quite popular. Not only in cooking a simply sliced cucumber smeared with red chilly powder and salt or fruit masala tastes like heaven. It helps you in cooling and relaxation during summers.
A train journey remains memorable with eating some Sosha as we call cucumber in Bengali with our family or co-passengers. After a days shopping on a scorching day, eating cucumber slices from that road-side vendor never tasted so good. It’s one of that comfort food which we can eat at any hour of the day.
It was one of those sunny afternoons and we were having our lunch break at my school (As you all know I work in a high school). Lunch break is not only meant for having our lunch but it is a time when a lot of discussion takes place- discussions about kids, their studies, sharing of a few personal emotions, a lot of laughter and yes exchange of interesting recipes amongst we food enthusiastic ladies.
My colleagues are some of the best cooks, they talk about amazing recipes, they bring for all of us home-cooked food, seasonal fruits, pickles and snacks, that may include Dahi-Bhalla (fritters dipped in yoghurt), steamed rice cake, banana and sabudana which is served as morning Prasad, just to name a few. I am more of a sit and eat food addict. This cucumber cooked with lentils (moong dal) recipe is given by one of my colleague who is also an amazing singer, teacher and cooks tasty dishes. Let’s begin with the recipe:-
Cucumber Curry Cooked with Lentils (Moong Dal)
3-4 medium-sized Cucumbers, Lentils (Moong Dal) 3-4 tablespoons, a little ginger, 1-2 bay leaf, green chillies, regular species- chilly, turmeric, cumin powder.You can add a small amount of ginger. For tempering, you can use only methi seeds or panch-phoran.
Panch phoran is an equal combination of five whole species- Fenugreek seeds, Cumin, Fennel, Mustard seeds, Nigella seeds.
To begin you need two-three medium sized cucumber. Take the tender ones it will take less time to get cooked. Wash, it, peel it and chop it in any manner you want. Next, you need three-four tablespoons lentils, that is Moong Dal. You can dry roast it and keep it aside. Just as we do for making plain moong dal.
Take that same wok/Kadai where you dry roast the moong dal, pour in 2 tablespoons of mustard oil and let it heat evenly. When the oil is heated and the raw mustard oil smell goes off put half- teaspoon of panch phoran and let it splutter. Put the bay leaf also into it. Add the ginger if you want but use a small portion.
Put the chopped cucumber, some ginger, chopped green chillies, salt according to taste and fry it for some time, say 5 minutes. After that put all the remaining ingredients including roasted Moong dal and the species. Fry it properly, the masalas need to fry or else it won’t taste good.
Try to cook in low flame as cooking always tastes good when cooked in medium to low flame. Cover with a lid. Stir it from time to time. Add two pinches of sugar to make it taste even better. As we Bengalis love a little bit of misti (sweet) in everything that is not-so-misti (sweet). Well, the cucumber curry is ready, it tastes absolutely divine with steamed rice and a dash of lemon. It is sure to soothe your soul this summer.
Total cooking time- I hour
Thanks for reading the post. Drop in your comments if you tried this recipe and feel free to share with your loved ones. Take care.