This easy zucchini Indian recipe will surprise you with its simplicity as it requires less than 10 ingredients (excluding the salt and water, of course!). This curry is vegan, gluten free and has no onion and garlic.
Zucchini, also known as courgette in the UK, is a summer squash. The high water content in this vegetable makes it a perfect vegetable for the summer.
This vegetable, known as Koosa in Hindi, is only recently becoming popular in India. The summer gourds and squashes most commonly used in Indian cuisine are ridge gourd, bottle gourd, ash gourd and chayote squash.
Since living in England, I have fallen in love with this healthy and hugely underrated vegetable. I use it for all those recipes that call for gourds and squashes that we use in India and not easily available here.
Do you love zucchini (courgette) too? See section below for a list and link of my favourite recipes.
Ingredients for zucchini Indian recipe
When you think of curry you think of a complicated recipe with lots of ingredients - onions, garlic, coconut milk, lots of spices, right? Not this one!
Zucchini/ Courgette: In the UK, I have come across the dark green variety and the smaller, light green variety. Both work well for this recipe.
You do not need to peel courgettes before chopping them.
Chickpea lentils: They add a wonderful crunch, nuttiness and the protein component to this dish.
Spices and flavourings: Nothing fancy here - just your regular pantry ingredients. Jaggery is unrefined sugar and add a delicious sweet note to the dish.
What is so special about this curry?
Simple recipes excite me beyond words. I mean, after a long day all you need is something nourishing, without having to slave at the stove for too long, right?! Here is why this courgette in curry holds a special place in my heart:
- Courgettes are abundantly available throughout the year and therefore this dish can be made anytime!
- This recipe has no onion and no garlic and it is vegan and gluten free!
- Requires simple pantry ingredients.
- The spices are subtle, which makes this dish full of flavours but not overwhelmingly spicy.
Making this recipe is as easy as 1,2,3! Let's make it.
The detailed recipe (with video) is below in a separate, printable recipe card.
Step 1: Let us begin by soaking the chickpea lentils in approximately 3 tablespoons (40 ml) of warm water for 30 minutes.
Soaking the lentils will help cook them faster so do not skip this step.
Step 2: While the lentils are soaking, let us prep the zucchini (courgettes). Wash and slice them into 'half moons'. The slices should not be too thick (will take time to cook), nor too thin (will become mushy).
Step 3: In a bowl, make a thick paste of the spices with 5-6tablespoons (70ml) of water. Keep aside.
Step 4: Place a pan on medium heat and add oil to it. Add the spice paste and stir for a minute.
Step 5: Now add the soaking lentils and the water that they have been soaking in plus some more water. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes.
Lentils will take longer to cook than courgettes. Therefore giving them a head start will help them cook to some extent.
Step 6: Add the sliced courgettes. Mix so that the spices coat the vegetable evenly. Cover and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Add the jaggery and salt. Cover again and cook till the courgettes are cooked soft and still keep their shape. The lentils will also be cooked through and still have a bit of crunch to them.
We have used, in total, about ¾ cup (200ml) of water - including soaking the lentils. You may need to add more water depending on the courgettes.
Do not be tempted to add more water in the beginning itself. Do remember that this is a watery vegetable and adding salt will draw out the water, adding more moisture to the curry.
The gravy should not be too watery. It should coat the vegetable thickly and evenly.
This courgette curry tastes best when the vegetable is cooked soft and does not become a mushy lump. The lentils too should have a bite to them. This adds a lovely texture to the soft, watery vegetable that zucchini is.
Therefore, make sure to slice the courgettes evenly and medium thick.
Do not skip soaking the lentils. Soaking them in warm water speeds up the soaking time.
Cook the lentils for a few minutes, till they are half cooked, and only then add the courgette slices.
Do not be tempted to add more water than what I have mentioned here. Do bear in mind that courgettes have a lot of water in them. Salt will coax all the water out of them and help make the gravy.
Notes and substitutions
- Jaggery: Do not have jaggery? No worries! Add any unrefined sugar, such as dark brown sugar (demerara).
- Zucchini: You can use any other summer squash instead of courgettes.
- Spices: If you do not have these spices with you, feel free to use your favourite curry powder instead.
I love having this sabzi with soft fluffy rotis or naan.
Or with these gluten free roti, on days when I want to eat a GF meal.
I also enjoy this curry with plain, white rice or with this simple cumin basmati rice.
Feeding this dish to your baby/ toddler:
Zucchini is such a baby friendly vegetable! Steamed, boiled or stir fried, this vegetable is safe to fed to your baby from when they are 10 months old. This recipe will be loved especially because it has a sweet tone to it and is full of flavours without it being overwhelmingly spicy. Just bear in mind to pick out the chickpea lentils before feeding this dish to your child.
Have you made this recipe? Do share it with me on Instagram. I would love to see your dish.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes courgette and zucchini two names for the same vegetable. Zucchini id the US name and Courgette is how this vegetable is known as in the UK.
Yes! a courgette that has been left to mature and grow to a bigger size is a marrow.
No. There is no need to peel courgettes before cooking them. This is so because their skin is thin and tender.
Yes you can, but you really need to keep an eye on them. Courgettes cook fast and can become mushy if left to cook for too long. A better way to cook them will be to steam them.
Preparing courgettes is easy. Just wash them and cut the tail part a bit. Cut them as per the requirement of the recipe.
Absolutely! This is such a baby friendly vegetable! Steamed, boiled or stir fried, courgettes are safe to fed to your baby from when they are 10 months old.
Zucchini or courgette is known as koosa in Hindi.
More zucchini recipes
If you have loved this recipe, then do check out more recipes with this wonderful vegetable.
- This creamy and coconutty courgettes with mung lentils is an all time favourite. Pair it with rice or have it on its own, this one pot dish tastes great as a side dish and is wholesome on its own.
- Fun to make and oh! so simple to make, this gorgeous looking zucchini boats recipe will be loved by kids and grown ups alike!
I hope that you enjoy making this super simple zucchini Indian recipe as much as I have enjoyed sharing it with you. If you have made it, please take a moment to leave a comment and /or a rating below. This will make me super happy and motivate me to create more good content for you! xx Padma
Zucchini Indian Recipe without onion and garlic
- 3 tablespoons chickpea lentils (chana dal)
- 3 zucchini (courgettes) - large; 850 grams, approximately
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 4 teaspoons ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons ground red chilli (use as mild or as hot as you like)
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 2 teaspoons powdered jaggery (5 grams, approximately )
- 2 tablespoons neutral oil
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ¾ cup water (warm)
- fresh coriander - a handful
Prep the ingredients
- Start by soaking the chickpea lentils in warm water, just enough to cover them (3 - 4 tablespoons) for 30 minutes. Soaking the lentils will help cook them faster so do not skip this step.3 tablespoons chickpea lentils
- While the lentils are soaking, wash and slice the courgettes into 'half moons' of even thickness.The slices should not be too thick (will take time to cook), nor too thin (will become mushy)3 zucchini (courgettes) -
- In a bowl, add the spices - cumin powder, ground coriander, ground red chilli, garam masala and turmeric - add some water (5-6 tablespoons) and mix. What you should have is a thick paste. Keep this aside.2 teaspoons ground cumin, 4 teaspoons ground coriander, 2 teaspoons ground red chilli, 1 teaspoon garam masala, ½ teaspoon turmeric
- Keep the rest of the ingredients measured and ready.2 teaspoons powdered jaggery, 2 tablespoons neutral oil, 2 teaspoons salt
Now let us make the dish
- Place a wide, heavy bottomed pan on medium high heat.Add oil.
- When the oil is warm, add the masala paste and fry for a minute.
- Add the soaking lentils along with the water that they have been soaking in plus 2 tablespoons water. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes.Lentils take longer to cook than zucchini. Therefore giving them a head start will help them cook before adding in the vegetable.
- Add the sliced zucchini / courgettes. Mix. The spices should coat the vegetable. Cover and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Add the jaggery, salt and the remaining water (about 3 tablespoons)
- Cover again and cook till the vegetable is cooked soft and still keep their shape. This step takes me about 10-12 minutes. The lentils will also be cooked through and still have a bit of crunch to them.
- Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.fresh coriander -
- The dish is ready! Serve this as a side with your main meal.
In the beginning, it may seem like the dish needs more water. Do not be tempted to add more water at this stage. Remember that zucchini is a watery vegetable and adding salt will draw out the water, adding more moisture to the curry. The gravy should not be too watery. It should coat the vegetable thickly and evenly. Courgette/ Zucchini: I usually find two varieties of courgettes here in the UK - the dark green variety and the smaller, light green variety. Both work well for this recipe. You do not need to peel courgettes before chopping them. Do not have garam masala? Feel free to use your favourite curry powder. Note: Nutrition information is automatically calculated using generic ingredients in a database and so this is just an estimate.