Wash the dal well, then soak it in cold water for 15 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, put the tomatoes, chilli(s), ginger, garlic and cloves into a large saucepan. Add the drained dal, stir well and add 1 litre (1¾pt) boiling water. Bring to the boil, add a good pinch of salt and simmer uncovered for 35 minutes. Take off the heat and blend together with a hand blender.
This should make a thick dal, rather like a sloppy mashed potato, but the consistency does vary depending on the quality and age of the dal. To be sure, take out a couple of ladles of the cooking liquid and pour into a jug, then if the dal is too thick you can add more liquid, rather than blending it all then finding it is too soupy for you. The texture is subjective, but for a party it is easier to serve a less soupy version. Stir in the coriander and curry leaves, return to the heat for 5 minutes and serve.
- 250g (9oz) chana dal
- 3 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 1, 1½, 2 (depending on taste) fat green chilli(s), deseeded and chopped
- 2.5cm (1in) piece fresh root ginger, peeled and sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 cloves
- 2tbsp chopped fresh coriander
- 5 curry leaves
Top Tip for making Indian Chana Dal
You can make the dahl the day before, if you like, then gently reheat it, adding a little water to maintain the correct consistency.
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