Chana dal for every occasion


I made this delicious dal just before Christmas, and am sharing it with you all now when we are all trying to eat healthy again. Chana – or chickpea –  has a low glycaemic index; high in fibre it is a very healthy ingredient and also contains zinc, calcium, folate and calcium. It makes a change from the urud dal (split peas) that I more usually make, and is nuttier in flavour. Can be eaten with rice, on its own with a salad or as a side dish. I actually served mine with beef rendang.

Serves 4

1 cup Chana dal
1 inch fresh turmeric, peeled and chopped
Salt – to taste

For cooking dal
2 tsp coconut oil
1 inch ginger, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 green chilies de-seeded and chopped finely
1 onion, chopped
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp coriander powder
pinch Turmeric powder
1 tsp garam masala

For tadka (tempering) –
2 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
8-10 curry leaves
1-2 large dry red chillies, broken into pieces

Soak the channa in cold water, changing frequently for several hours or overnight.

Then cover with fresh water, add salt and turmeric and bring to the boil and simmer until cooked, can take 1-2 hours. Should still be a bit firm, not too squishy.

When the channa is ready, heat the oil in a pan and fry ginger, garlic and green chillies for a couple of minutes. Next add the onions and fry until soft. Then add the spices and fry until they release their aromas.

Add the tomatoes, and finally the channa. Add water to cover if necessary, but don’t make it too wet as you will only cook it for another 10 minutes or so until the channa is hot and the tastes have infused.

While this is cooking, heat some more oil in another pan, and when smoking hot add the cumin and mustard seeds, together with the curry leaves and chillies. Fry them very quickly until the leaves and chillies go brown, making sure the seeds don’t burn. Remove from oil with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen towel.

Put the dhal into a serving dish and sprinkle the tadka on top.

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