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close up image of chayote squash toor dal curry

Chayote Squash With Toor Dal

Give this chayote squash with toor dal a try today. It is vegan, gluten-free and a delicious curry that pairs well with rice.

Toor Dal is a staple in most Indian households and is a good source of protein. Combine it with chayote squash (I have mentioned a few substitutes below) and you have a wholesome dish.

I usually serve this with steamed rice or unleavened wheat flour flatbreads (chappati)

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 4 -6


  • 115 grams approx. ½ cup Toor dal/split pigeon peas
  • 150 grams 1 number | approx. 1 ½ cups Chayote squash; peeled, remove the seed, and diced medium
  • ½ teaspoon Kashmiri red chilli powder; adjust to taste
  • ½ teaspoon Turmeric Powder/Haldi
  • Salt to taste

grind together to a smooth paste

  • 70 grams approx. ¾ cup coconut; freshly grate OR frozen & thawed
  • ½ teaspoon cumin Seeds/jeera
  • 7-8 grams 1 large shallot; optional
  • ½ teaspoon whole black pepper; adjust to taste


  • 1 tablespoon oil; use coconut oil for an authentic taste
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1-2 dried whole red chillies; if large break into smaller pieces
  • 1-2 spring curry leaves


  • instant pot
  • cooking spoons
  • chopping board + knife + peeler
  • measuring cups/spoons
  • small tadka/tempering pan to be used on the stovetop
  • small blender/mixer-grinder


how to make chayote squash with toor dal

    prep work

    • Wash, peel, remove the seed, and dice the chayote squash into medium-sized pieces.
    • Rinse toor dal with water 2-3 times.
    • Grate coconut. Peel the shallot.
    • Get all the ingredients ready.


      Note: We use Instant Pot to prepare the dish in the video below. You can use a regular pressure cooker on the stovetop instead of the Instant Pot.

      • Add toor dal and Chayote squash pieces to the Instant Pot. Add 1 cup of water. Latch the lid. Vent in the SEALING position. PRESSURE COOK (or MANUAL MODE in some models) on HIGH for 15 minutes. Natural pressure release (It takes few minutes for the pressure to build up in the Instant Pot. Additionally, it takes about 20 minutes for the pressure to be released naturally). Once the pressure is released completely, press CANCEL.
      • Open the lid of the Instant Pot. Using a ladle, gently mash the toor dal without breaking the chayote squash pieces. Add ¾-1 cup water, Kashmiri red chilli powder, turmeric powder, and salt. Press the SAUTE mode and bring it back to a boil. [ Note: Start with about 1½ teaspoons of salt. Add more if required]
      • Meanwhile, grind coconut, black pepper, shallots, and cumin seeds with about ½ cup water to a smooth paste.
      • Once the toor dal-chayote squash comes to a boil, add the ground coconut paste.[Note: If required, you can add water to adjust the consistency if required]. Bring back to a boil.

      prepare the tadka on the stovetop

      • Heat oil on medium heat in a tadka/tempering pan. Add mustard seeds and when they splutter, add whole red chillies. Remove from heat.
      • Add the curry leaves to the toor dal-chayote squash curry in the Instant Pot. Pour the seasoned oil.
      • Transfer to a serving dish. Serve hot.



      1. 1 CUP = 250 ML. (US cups are typically 240 ml. You can use US cups with no significant change to the dish)
      2. Grams to cups measurements – we strive to provide these conversions as accurately as possible. There might be some slight variations depending on the brand, weighing scale, etc.
      3. Serving size – This serves 4  people. Adjust the serving size to fit your dietary needs. 
      4. Curry thickens slightly on cooling. Add a sufficient quantity of water to adjust the consistency while reheating.
      5. Prep Time - Time to rinse the dal, dice chayote squash, and get ingredients ready. Cook Time - Time for actual cooking (some of this happens unattended). Additional Time- Instant Pot takes about 8-10 minutes to reach full pressure. It also needs about 20 minutes for natural pressure release.
      6. We use Instant Pot to prepare the dish in the video below. You can use a regular pressure cooker on the stovetop instead of the Instant Pot.