Today our dal is made with split Channa, small chickpeas that have been hulled and split into two. Usually we make dal from mung dal, mung beans, urad dal or toor dal, so it is unusual for us to make it with channa.
In this dal, we have used eggplants. Cut into wedges, they float beautifully in the spicy channa gravy.
Channa Dal with Eggplants
1 cup channa dal, soaked overnight, rinsed and drained
250g small eggplants
1 small onion, chopped
0.5 tspn ginger-garlic paste
0.5 tspn turmeric powder
1 sprig curry leaves
0.5 tspn Indian chilli powder
0.25 tspn cumin powder
0.5 tspn coriander powder
0.25 tspn garam masala
green coriander leaves
sea salt to taste
Heat 1 or 2 tspns ghee in a pan, add the chopped onions, and saute until the onions are softened and golden.
Add the ginger-garlic paste, turmeric powder and curry leaves, mix and saute for a minute. Now add the soaked and drained chana dal, and enough water to cover the channa dal sufficiently. Bring to the boil, cover with the saucepan lid, and simmer for 5-6 minutes.
While this is cooking, melt 1 Tblspn ghee in a kadhai or heavy frying pan. Cut the eggplants lengthwise into eighths (or more, depending on their size). Add to the hot ghee and fry on all sides until golden.
Add to the dal with the red chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, and a little sea salt. Add more water if necessary.
Replace the lid and cook for another 5 or 6 minutes until flavours are combined and the eggplants and dal are cooked (but the dal is not overcooked). Add the garam masala and mix well. Remove from the heat.
Scatter with coriander leaves and serve.
recipe notes and alternatives
Is your dal too thin? Thicken it with a smooth paste made from a little chickpea flour mixed with water. Stir while adding to the dal, and continue to stir for up to a minute as the dal thickens.