Wash 1 cup chana dal with water 2-3 times until the water runs clear. Soak it in 3-4 cups of water for 20 minutes. Soaking the chana dal is important otherwise it will take more time to cook as compared to the lauki and lauki will get mushy.
Peel a small size lauki (or half of a large one) using a vegetable peeler. Wash the peeled lauki and cut it into 1-inch cubes. If there are large seeds, then discard them by cutting the portion with the seeds lengthwise. Set the cubed lauki aside.
Prepare the other ingredients as required.
Press SAUTE button on the instant pot. Once it says HOT, add 2 tablespoon ghee.
Once the ghee is hot, add ½ cup chopped onion and saute for 3-4 minutes until it softens and gets slightly browned.
Add 2 teaspoon chopped ginger, 2 teaspoon chopped garlic, 2 teaspoon chopped green chili, and ¼ cup chopped tomatoes and fry for another 2 – 3 minutes.
Now, add the cubed lauki and fry for a minute.
Drain the chana dal and add it to the pot along with ½ teaspoon turmeric powder, salt to taste, and 3 cups of water, and close the lid of the instant pot.
Set the valve to the sealing position. press PRESSURE COOK and set the timer to 11 minutes at High Pressure. The instant pot will take some to build the pressure and start the timer (10-12 minutes).
Once the timer goes off, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes. Release the remaining pressure manually and open the lid of the pot. Stir the dal gently.
Note – To make the dal in a traditional pressure cooker, pressure cook for 1 whistle on high heat. Then set the heat to low and cook for 10-12 minutes. Remove the cooker from heat and let the pressure release naturally before opening the lid. Add more water if the dal is thick.
For tempering, heat 2 tablespoon ghee in a small pan over medium-high heat. Once the ghee is hot, add 1 teaspoon cumin seeds and ¼ teaspoon asafetida and let them crackle for 3-4 seconds. Remove the pan from heat. Add 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder and immediately pour the tempering over the cooked dal.
Stir gently and serve the dal hot with steamed rice or roti.
Adjust the amount of green chilies, depending on how spicy you want it to be.You can make this dal with many different vegetables like tinda (apple gourd), palak (spinach) or methi (fenugreek leaves), etc.You can even use zucchini instead of lauki.Some fried and crushed Punjabi dal wadi can also be added to this dal.Add some achari masala, goda masala, malvani masala or meat masala for a taste change.