I love toor dal and mung dal so much that I often overlook channa dal. But it is a mistake, really, as channa dal has its own wonderful flavour and texture. It makes a great dal. Here we have used tomatoes and spices to make a base for some garden greens. It is an easy, nutritious and delicious lunch dish or part of an evening meal.
Channa Dal with Garden Greens
0.5 cup channa dal, soaked for 2 – 4 hours
0.5 tspn turmeric powder
several large leaves of greens – spinach, mustard greens, chilli greens, even broccolini with leaves – chopped
a few stalks herbs – parsley and/or coriander leaves – chopped
2 tomatoes, pureed
1 tspn coriander seeds, roasted ground to a powder
0.5 tspn Indian chilli powder, or to taste.
1 Tblspn ghee
0.5 brown mustard seeds
1 tspn cumin seeds
1 piece ginger thumb size
2 – 3 dried Indian red chilli
5-6 curry leaves
squeeze lemon juice
Drain the soaked channa dal, place in a saucepan and cover well with water. Add the turmeric and sea salt to taste. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20-25 min until the lentils are soft.
Add the chopped greens, herbs and tomato puree along with the coriander powder and chilli powder, and simmer for 8 – 10 mins until the greens are cooked. Add water if needed so that the consistency is not too thick and bring back to a simmer. Remove from the heat.
To make the tadka, heat the ghee in a tadka pan or small saucepan. Add the mustard seeds and allow them to pop. Add the cumin seeds and dried chilli and as the cumin seeds begin to darken, add the ginger and curry leaves. The curry leaves will sizzle, then pour the oil and spices over the dal. Mix well, then cover and leave for a couple of minutes for the flavours to develop.
Stir in a squeeze of lemon and serve with optional coriander leaves.