Winter Melon with Yellow Mung | Chaal Kumro Diye Muger Dal

Happiness is when you see a lot of fresh "Indian Produce" in the vegetable aisle of Yanbu's supermarket. In the two years of living here, this is the first time I got to see Indian Produce fruits and vegetables that are not only in good shape and condition but are more in variety too. The funny thing was they had labelled each and every item as "Indian Produce" and charged at 11 SAR for 1 Kilogram. Pick any for 11 for a kilo! that is insane but totally acceptable! :-)

I picked raw papaya, bottle gourd, Indian okra, winter melon, drumsticks, broad beans and tiny brinjals! There were a few other veggies like ridge gourd, bilimbi, Indian pumpkin etc which I did not pick this time because I have never used them. When your fridge is fully stocked is when it is hard to decide what to cook, don't you agree?

Winter Melon with Yellow Mung | Chaal Kumro Diye Muger Dal

I started with the winter melon. I made moru curry (buttermilk curry) with one half and the other half went into making this Bengali dish called "chaal kumro diye muger dal" which translates to "Winter Melon with Yellow Mung". The first time I made referring to eCurry was because my bong friend was away on a romantic vacation with her hubby dear. I knew a half-cut winter melon would not stay good for too long, so went ahead and made it as per Soma's recipe.

As I am drafting this post, I learned she is back and shamelessly asked her for the recipe instead of how her vacation was! :-) She knows me to bits so... the only difference is she uses "Panch Phoran instead of cumin in this recipe and I can imagine that would be amazing too.

To make your own stock of Panch Phoran (btw, this is my new love. I make use of this in tempering upma, stir-fries etc and it lends such amazing flavour and aroma) take equal parts of mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, nigella seeds, cumin seeds and fennel seeds in a bottle and shake well before using it. :-P

Winter Melon with Yellow Mung | Chaal Kumro Diye Muger Dal

And that is my Ragee dear who photobombs either sleeping or sniffing at my food plate. :-) 

How to make Chaal Kumro Diye Muger Dal?

dry roasting yellow mung dal

dry roasted yellow mung dal

heating ghee in a cooker pan

Frying cumin seeds, asafoetida, green chilli, dry red chilli and the bay leaf

tossed in the chopped winter melon, salt and turmeric

added the roasted lentils

pressured cooked

Winter Melon with Yellow Mung | Chaal Kumro Diye Muger Dal Recipe

Winter melon is also known as ash gourd, white gourd, or winter gourd. In Malayalam, I think it is called Kumbalanga.


  • 3 cups cubed winter melon
  • 1/2 cup yellow mung dal (don't wash)
  • 2 teaspoons ghee
  • 2 dried red chilli
  • 2 green chillies, slit
  • a pinch of Hing/asafoetida
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (1/2 to 1 teaspoon Panch Phoran, Bengali's five spice)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • salt to taste
  • fresh coriander leaves for garnish


  1. Dry roast the yellow mung dal in a thick bottomed pan or kadhai until they turn golden and become fragrant. Transfer them to a bowl and let cool.
  2. Heat ghee in a pressure cooker pan. Add the cumin seeds and when they splutter add the asafoetida, green chilli, dry red chilli and the bay leaf. Fry for a few seconds.
  3. Add the chopped winter melon (ash gourd), salt and turmeric and toss well. 
  4. Add the roasted lentils, and mix well. If the mixture is too dry, then add a few drops of water but may not require as the melon will anyways release water. Cook for about two whistles and switch off. Let the pressure go off on its own.
  5. Uncover and check the doneness of the lentils, and melon and adjust the salt. Everything should retain its shape and be soft. Switch off. 
  6. Serve hot with a dash of ghee tossed in it and garnish with some chopped coriander leaves. Traditionally this is served with hot white rice but we enjoyed it with some chapatis.
I usually make it at least twice before blogging, but this is a very simple dish and cannot go wrong at all. InshaAllah, I will try and make it again with Panch Phoran. Meanwhile, linking this post to the event MLLA #103 happening at The Big Sweet Tooth until this month-end, conceptualised by Susan and hosted by Lisa

Update: 20/04/2017: Here is another picture of the same dish made with Panch Phoran which is the 5 spice of Calcutta!

Winter Melon with Yellow Mung | Chaal Kumro Diye Muger Dal

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