Recipe: Palak Chana Daal
285g chana daal
2 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 packed cup spinach, finely chopped
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 ½ tsp salt
3 tbsp ghee or oil
A pinch of asafoetida
½ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp whole cumin seeds
1 or 2 dried hot red chillies, depending on spice preference
8 fresh curry leaves
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp garlic puree
1 tsp ginger puree
½ tsp red chilli powder (optional)
1 Wash the daal in a medium bowl. Wash and drain repeatedly until the water runs clear, then drain completely in a sieve.
2 Place the dal in a medium saucepan along with about a litre of water. Bring to the boil, skimming off the froth from the top, being mindful that it doesn’t boil over.
3 Add the turmeric, lower the heat and cover for about 40 minutes to an hour until soft and tender.
4 In the meantime, heat the ghee or oil in a small, non-stick, frying pan set over a medium-high heat.
5 Once hot, add the asafoetida and then the mustard seeds. Wait for the seeds to pop, then add the cumin seeds. Stir quickly for a few seconds, then add the dried chillies and fry until they darken. Add the curry leaves, stir once and then add the onion. Sauté for about 7 to 10 minutes, or until the onion turns light brown.
6 Add the garlic and ginger and stir for another 1 or 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and stir for about five minutes until they soften, mashing them with the back of a wooden spoon as you go.
7 Add the spinach and about ½ cup water. Stir to combine, lower the heat and cover. Allow to simmer for about 10 to 12 minutes until the spinach wilts and becomes soft.
8 Once the daal is cooked, add the salt and the spinach mixture and stir well
9 Check the seasoning and add chilli powder if desired. Thin the daal with a little water if it feels too thick, and then serve with plain boiled rice or chapattis.