Chana Dal

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Don’t you love September? Something happens to the light – it cools slightly from the golden sunshine to bluey light, the clouds become more prominent and there’s a sudden nip in the air. Perfect coat weather. And yes, you have to contend with the sudden rain and the wind, but that seems to spur us all on, to make the most of the brightness before we sink fully into the winter. Things seem to happen in September. Maybe it’s our guilt at not having made the most of our summer like everyone tells us we should. We’re supposed to be going out all the time, eating lots of ice cream while simultaneously being “beach body ready”. Except some days we sat at home, feeling the sun on our face (via window) and watching the world go by. Should we feel guilty that we didn’t have the busiest summer ever?

Anyway, September is good. September means we can go to art galleries, food festivals, film screenings and more but also not feel guilty about sitting at home, holding bowls of hot food, watch our favourite shows and letting our brain slow down.

Makes about 4 servings
From Madhur Jaffrey’s Curry Easy

1 cup chana dal, washed and drained
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 and 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground dried red chillies
3 tbsp ghee
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
15 curry leaves
1 medium onion, chopped
1/3 tin chopped tomatoes

  1. Put the dal and 1 litre of water in a heavy-bottomed pan. Bring to boil and skim the froth that rises to the top.
  2. Lower the heat and add the turmeric. Stir, cover partially and simmer gently for 1 hour.
  3. Add the salt and red chillies to the dal. Stir, cover partially again and simmer gently for about 10 minutes, or until you finish the next step.
  4. Pour the ghee into a frying pan and heat on medium heat. When hot, add the cumin and mustard seeds. As soon as the mustard seeds pop, add the curry leaves and onion.  Stir and fry until the onion has softened and is beginning to brown at the edges.
  5. Add the tomatoes and stir over a medium-low heat for 2 minutes. Pour the contents of the frying pan into the dal and stir through.
  6. Enjoy immediately with Indian bread or rice, or store in the fridge for a few days.

So what do you think? Feel free to share your questions and comments below! We’d love to hear what you have to say.

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