Monster’s Dhal Recipe
250g/9oz chana dal (yellow dried split peas), rinsed until the water runs clear
1.5 litre/1¾ pints water or chicken stock
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 oz butter
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 sprinkle asafetida leaves
1 tsp curry leaves
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp ground coriander seed
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp salt & freshly ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
1 medium onion, chopped
2 whole green chillies, pricked with a knife
2cm/¾in piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into thin strips
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped
Wash the lentils in a saucepan with fresh cold water, using hands to grind the lentils together. This will help rub off discards, shells and dust. Drain the water.
Place the lentils and 900ml/1¾ pints of the water into a pan, stir well and bring to the boil. Skim off any froth that forms on the surface of the water with a spoon. There shouldn’t be very much as you have already washed the lentils clean of impurities. Cover the pan with a lid and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer, stirring regularly, for 20, or until the lentils are just tender, adding more water as necessary.
Add the cumin, curry leaves, bay, coriander seed. Chilli powder and asafoetida and fenugreek to the pan, and gently simmer a further 20 mins.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the chopped onions, garlic, whole green chillies and mustard seeds and fry for 5-10 mins, or until fragrant. Add the butter and, once melted and blended in, pour into the main pot, and set to a simmer.
Add the ground spices and 100ml/3½fl oz of water to the pan and stir well to combine. Season, to taste, with salt and simmer over a medium heat for 15-20 minutes, or until the oil from the sauce has risen to the surface of the sauce.
Add the cooked lentils to the sauce and stir well, adding more water as necessary to loosen the mixture. Bring the mixture to the boil and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir in the chopped coriander just before serving.