Summer Squash with Val Dal and Vidalia Onions – Based on Luv2Cook’s Bottle Gourd Dappalam

Summer Squash

Summer Squash in an old Munising Bowl, originally used for bread dough, etc.


The following was inspired by and is based upon Luv2Cook’s Bottle Gourd Dappalam.

I found fresh summer squash in the farm stand this week. We’ve had it raw with yogurt dip, and steamed with a little melted butter and Penzey’s Fox Point seasoning.

I had bookmarked Luv2Cook’s Bottle Gourd Dappalam recipe, so I saved some squash and made the rasam powder last night. I wanted to taste the rasam powder, so cooked up a little pan of squash and sprinkled some over to get the taste. It was delicious, and led me to this adaptation of
Luv2Cook’s original recipe.

Her post mentioned that some recipes for this use dal; I thought of the lovely scent of val dal and decided to add a little to the pot. Since I had Vidalia onions, I cooked those separately first, to bring out their sweetness. I did not use besan flour, and cut down the green chilies to suit my taste. Since I love cumin, I substituted cumin-coriander powder for the straignt coriander. I also added a pinch of brown sugar/jaggery, as this helps the onions to carmelize a little.

The rest of the ingredients are taken directly from L2C’s original.

Summer Squash with Val Dal and Vidalia Onions
(based on Luv2Cook’s Bottle Gourd Dappalam)

1/4 c split val dal, washed and soaked 30-60 min

2 tsp oil/ghee, divided

1 medium Vidalia onion, cut into thick chunks
pinch brown sugar/jaggery
2-3 green chilies, slit (or more to taste)

1 TB minced ginger
1 TB minced garlic (optional)
8-10 fresh curry leaves
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds

2-3 fresh young summer squash, washed, peeled, and cut into thick chunks

1/2 tsp turmeric
1 healthy TB rasam powder
1 healthy TB sambhar powder
1 TB cumin-coriander powder
pinch asafoetida

1/8 tsp tamarind paste mixed with 3/4 c water (or fresh tamarind soaked and pulp extracted)

salt and chili powder to taste

fresh cilantro to garnish, if desired

In a small pot, place soaked val dal with pinch of salt and water to cover by 1 inch. Cover tightly and cook 20-30 min or until soft, but not complete mush. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, heat 1 tsp oil or ghee and add onions. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, about 5 min or till onions begin to soften. Add the pinch of brown sugar/jaggery and cook another 5 min until they begin to brown. Add green chilies and cook a few minutes more.

Browning the Onions

Browning the onions


Move onion mixture to one side of the pan, melt another teaspoon of ghee and add ginger, garlic and curry leaves. When fragrant, add cumin and mustard seeds. When seeds begin to sizzle add summer squash.

Adding the Summer Squash

Adding the summer squash


Add turmeric, rasam, sambhar and cumin-coriander powders, and asafoetida. Stir everything well to combine and coat the veggies with the spices. Reduce heat to med-low. Add cooked val dal and tamarind-water. Cover and cook 5-10 minutes. Stir again, taste, and add chili powder/salt if desired.

Mixing in the Seasonings

Mixing in the seasonings


Turn out onto plate with rice and garnish with chopped coriander if desired. It is a bit strong with spice ~ lacking the mellowing addition of besan, so I had some yogurt on the side.

Thanks for this great recipe, Luv2Cook!


Summer Squash with Vidalia Onions and Val Dal



  1. vineela said

    Hi Linda,
    Colorful photos and good recipe

  2. Thank you Vineela! I love the color of fresh summer squash 🙂

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