Chana dhal is a recipe that will always be comforting and nutritious. Bengal gram, or split chickpeas, take a little longer to cook than the usual lentil curry but it's worth it- they're high in fibre, low in calories and ridiculously cheap! Chana dhal is usually cooked with onions, tomatoes and a light sprinkle of spices. Dhal is usually made in two steps: first by boiling lentils and onions and then adding the tadka (tempering spices in oil and adding to the dhal.) This "entry level" version is a light, everyday recipe which is great for when you're feeling under the weather and need something easy to digest. I find it best to have with parathas but there have been times where I've just slurped on this like a soup!
Servings: 7-8 portions
Prep+cooking time: 1hr 20mins
Ingredients for the dhal
- 1 1/2 cups chana dhal, left to soak in 3-4 cups of water for at least an hour
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 1 tomato or a small handful of cherry tomatoes sliced in half
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 tsp salt, or to taste
- 1/2 cup chopped coriander, to garnish
Ingredients for the tadka (tempering)
- 2-3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 inch ginger, grated or mashed using a pestle and mortar
- 4-5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
Instructions for the dhal
1) Rinse the chana dhal in running water before letting it soak for at least an hour. Prepare all your ingredients during this time.
2) Drain the chana dhal and place in a pan with 3-4 cups of fresh water with turmeric, salt and chopped onion. Bring the pulses to a boil and allow to simmer for half an hour with the lid covering the pan. If the water needs to reduce, leave the pan only partially covered. Add your chopped tomato once the dhal is soft.
3) While the dhal is simmering, heat oil in a separate frying pan and add each tadka ingredient in the order above. Ginger and garlic take longer to fry whereas cumin needs only a few seconds! Add a pinch of salt to help soften the garlic and ginger.