Cumin seeds, cardamom and cinnamon cook in ghee to make tadka, a common technique in Indian cooking and useful in flavoring bland dishes of dal, in New York, Feb. 25, 2014. Dal, made from dried beans, is a versatile staple in India, found on nearly every table every day, rich or poor. (Karsten Moran/The New York Times) ORG XMIT: XNYT85
Chana Dal Sundal
Serves 6 to 8.
• 2 c. chana dal (split hulled chickpeas), chana (whole white chickpeas) or kala chana (black chickpeas), soaked in cold water overnight and drained
• 2 tbsp. coconut oil or vegetable oil
• 2 or 3 red chiles, fresh or dry, slit lengthwise
• 1/2 tsp. black mustard seeds
• 12 curry leaves
• Pinch of asafetida, optional
• 3 tbsp. grated coconut, fresh or dried
• Pinch of cayenne
• Cilantro sprigs, for garnish
Simmer chana dal in a soup pot in abundant lightly salted water until soft but not mushy, about 15 minutes. (If using whole chickpeas, cook for 45 minutes.) Drain and spread out on a baking sheet to cool.
In a large wide skillet, heat coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add urad dal, chiles, mustard seeds and curry leaves. Let sizzle for a minute until seeds begin to pop, then add asafetida if using. Turn heat to low and add cooked chana dal and gently stir to coat. Add coconut and continue to stir until spices are well distributed. Check seasoning, adding salt and cayenne as desired.
Transfer to serving bowl and garnish with cilantro sprigs. Serve warm.
Nutrition information per each of 8 servings: