This dal recipe was given to me by a Gujarati lady when I visited the Krishna Avanti primary school in Edgware in 2012. It was served as part of the school lunch and I asked for the recipe. It was a good lunch!
Two thirds of a sieve of yellow split mung or red lentils
1/2 tsp Black mustard seeds
1 tsp Cumin seeds
1/2 tsp Garam masala
A thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, grated
1/2 tsp hing or asafoetida
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
1. Wash the dal thoroughly in cold water, until the water runs clear.
2. To make your chaunk, heat a tablespoon of oil in a medium sized saucepan over a medium heat. Add the black mustard seeds. Once they start to crackle and turn blue grey, add the cumin seeds and followed shortly afterwards by the ginger – stir briefly to stop it sticking. Add the powdered spices. You can take the pot off the heat if you’re worried it will scorch.
2. Add the chopped tomato and fry the mixture over a low heat for a minute. Next add the dal and cover generously with twice as much water and the salt. I usually use boiling water from the kettle to speed things up.
4. Cover with a lid and cook over a medium heat for 20-30 minutes. Check the water levels periodically, topping up if needed. It should cook nicely without sticking. Add more water and turn the heat down a little if it does start to stick.
5. Once cooked, the lentils will be soft and will start to lose their shape. Serve with rice, subji and ideally chapattis.