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Chana Dal Sabji / Split Chickpeas Curry

Chana Dal Sabji
What's cooking for lunch at your place?  We are having a simple roti sabji for lunch.  A protein rich split chickpeas curry with soft, fluffy phulka.  Today's recipe is the basic style of cooking an Indian curry, with onions and tomatoes.  Add your personal touch to this curry by choosing your favorite Masala or spice mix.

Ingredients:
Chana Dal/Split Chickpeas/Split Bengal Gram - 1 cup
Onion/Pyaz - 1 medium
Tomatoes/Tamatar - 2 medium
Garlic/Lahsun - 3 big cloves
Ginger/Adrak - half inch piece
Green Chili/Hari Mirch - 1
Red Chili Powder/Lal Mirch - 1 tsp
Garam Masala or any other spice mix - 1/2 tsp
Chat Masala or Aamchur (Dry Mango Powder) - 1/2 tsp
Mustard Seeds - 1/4 tsp
Turmeric/Haldi - 1/2 tsp
Cilantro/Coriander/Dhania Leaves - few sprigs
Salt
Oil

How to cook Chana Dal Masala:
  • Soak chana dal in plenty of water for 20 - 30 minutes.  Soaking is optional.  Wash the soaked dal well.
  • Heat about 4 cups of water in a pot.  Add washed dal and cook until chana dal turns soft.  Add more water if required.  Make sure the dal does not turn too soft.  Save the water used for cooking dal.
  • Finely chop onions and cilantro leaves.  Puree roughly chopped tomatoes, ginger, garlic, green chili to a fine paste.  Avoid adding water.
  • Heat about 2 tbsp oil in a pan.  Add mustard seeds.  When mustard seeds pop, add onions.  Saute until onions soften.  Stir in tomato puree and cook until it thickens.  Add red chili powder, chat masala, turmeric and saute for a minute.  Add 1/2 cup water and cook it covered until it thickens.
  • Now add cooked chana dal (along with 1 cup of water used for cooking dal), salt and garam masala.  Cook it covered at low heat for about 5 minutes or until the curry thickens.
  • Garam Masala is the most common spice mix or seasoning used in Indian cooking.  For this curry, you can add any other spice mix of your choice as well - Kolhapuri Masala, Pav Bhaji Masala.  My favorite is Meat Masala. 
Garnish with cilantro and serve Chana Dal Curry with roti or rice.  Sprinkle some lemon juice if you like.

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