There is high drama at this time of year, as peak courgette season kicks in and people start firing panicked messages at each other, looking for new ways to dispense with them before they (shock, horror) turn into marrows. I used to make courgette kofta a lot, but for quicker suppers, I either grill them, curry them with corn, or cook them like this, with chickpeas. In its original form, this is the Gujarati dish lauki chana dal, made using bottle gourd and chana dal. Today’s recipe is a fast-and-loose adaptation that may not win an Indian aunty’s approval, but it will show those courgettes, and your dinner table, a good time.
Simple courgette and chickpea dal
This is a really simple dish. It just needs chapatis, pickle and yoghurt to form a choir for dinner. It’s also a very traditional Gujarati dish, usually made with bottle gourd. Canned chickpeas vary, so simmer yours until they become soft – this might take five minutes or it might take 10.
Prep 15 min
Cook 30 min
5 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 tsp black mustard seeds
¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
750g courgettes, (about 4) halved and cut diagonally into 3cm pieces
250g vine tomatoes, chopped
½ tsp turmeric
1 ½ tsp chilli
1 ½ tsp cumin
1 ½ tsp coriander
1 ½ tsp salt
2 x 400g tins chickpeas, and their water
To serve (optional)
Heat three tablespoons of oil in wide frying pan over a high heat, and, when very hot, add the mustard and fenugreek seeds.
Let them sizzle and pop, then add the courgettes. Fry for 10 minutes, turning only now and then so as to get some good golden colour on them.
Add the tomatoes, cook for five minutes, then add the spices and salt. Mix well, then briefly take off the heat.
Tip the chickpeas and their water into the courgette pan, and put it back on the heat. Cook for a further five minutes until everything comes together, taste and adjust the seasoning if need be.
Serve with chapatis, some lime pickle and a dollop of cold coconut yoghurt.