Chana dal (Bengal lentils)
(Includes main Dal and the Tarka)
Two cups of Chana dal
Two medium sized onions
4-5 cloves of garlic
3-4 green chillies
1.5 cm piece of ginger
Salt and red chili powder to taste
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
1 teaspoon of gram masala
One tablespoon of ghee
Wash and soak the dal for 20 minutes. Finely chop one onion, garlic, ginger and green chillies and place in a pressure cooker* along with the washed and soaked dal. Add Six cups of water along with salt and turmeric. Close the pressure cooker and place on a high flame. Reduce the flame after the first whistle and wait for the pressure cooker to come o pressure and whistle twice. Do not open the pressure cooker until the pressure inside dissipates.
In the meanwhile prepare the tarka or tempering. Finely chop the remaining onion. Place the ghee in a hot frying pan and add the chopped onion. Cook on a high flame until the onions are browned. Add the garam masala and red chili powder (if using any). Add the tarka to the cooked dal and garnish with chopped coriander. Serve hot with rice or flat bread.
*the pressure cooker merely reduces the cooking time. If you do not have one, cook the dal in a saucepan until it is tender. Approximate cooking time will be 1 hour. Soaking the dal for longer will help reduce the overall cooking time.