Delicious vegan curry from the region of Eastern U.P., this nenua chana sabji is a summer favourite.
Soak the Kala chana (black chickpeas) overnight or for at least 6-8 hours in warm water. Then pressure cook till two whistles with 1 tsp of salt and a pinch of turmeric. Once the pressure eases off, open and keep aside.
To prepare the sabzi, heat mustard oil in a wok at high gas till light smoke comes out of the oil. Turn the heat to medium and add fenugreek (methi) seeds and asafoetida (hing) powder. Allow the seeds to crackle for 8-10 seconds.
Add chopped onions into it and mix it well. Cook the mixture on medium flame, stirring occasionally till chopped onions turn golden brown in colour.
Add the chopped green chillies and garlic into it and fry for about half a minute.
Then add red chilli powder, turmeric (haldi) powder, coriander seeds (dhania) powder and salt into the mixture and mix.
Now add cooked black chickpea (kala chana) in the pan and mix it well. Cook covered for about a minute just to let it soak in the flavours. You could add a tablespoon of water if the tempering is too dry.
Then add the chopped sponge gourd (turai/tori/nenua) into it and mix it well. Once mixed, again cover it with a lid and cook covered for about 8-10 minutes allowing the sponge gourd to get cooked completely. Keep stirring occasionally. Turai releases enough water so there shouldn't be any need for you to add some more.
When the sabzi is almost cooked, add garam masala powder, dry mango (amchoor) powder and cumin seeds (jeera) powder into it. Mix well, check for the consistency and add 1-2 tbsp of water is required and cook till its all soaked up well.
Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve hot with phulka or as a side with dal rice combo.
In this version, I keep the quantity of black chickpeas more and zucchini less. But when I cook this with the actual Indian tori/turai I use less chana and more turai and make it slightly mushy. You could try both versions and pick the one you like more.