Chana dal are an Indian staple, and most resemble yellow split peas. It’s quite different because it doesn’t readily boil down to mush. It’s more closely related to garbanzo beans, or chickpeas. The differences are that chana dal is younger, smaller, split, sweeter, and has a much lower glycemic index.
This dish - made of chana dal, spices, onion, and tomato sauce - is almost soup/stewlike in its consistency. It’s thick and hearty, and has a nice complement of flavors, without being hot spicy. I quite enjoyed making it.
Servings: let’s say 6 (- quite likely more, based on ingredients(see recipe)
Remember, this is a calorie count under the assumption that it’s 6 servings! (at least two ladles full!)
2 cups of Chana Dal
1 Small Onion, minced
3 cups of Tomato Sauce (can use crushed tomatoes)
1 tsp Cumin Seeds (use cumin if you don't have the seeds)
1 tblsp fresh Ginger, minced (use powder if you don't have fresh)
1 tblsp Garlic, minced
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tblsp Coriander Powder
1 tsp Red Chili Powder (or to taste)
Salt to taste
1 tblsp Fresh Lemon or Lime Juice
1) Wash the hell out of the beans - seriously. Run them under water in a large pot, rub them against each other, and drain repeatedly. Then cover with water and let sit for at least an hour or two (overnight is better, but one or two hours will be ok)
2) In a large pot, cook the chana dal with 4 cups of water. Bring to boil, and simmer and medium-low heat for an hour or two - perhaps more - You want to make sure that they're cooked until tender (add more water as needed - enough to cover the beans, about 1/4 inch).
3) Partially puree the beans, using a hand held blender. OR put half of them in a regular blender and puree, then mix it back with the other half. (I smushed the other half as well a little bit, with a potato masher). Set beans aside in the pot.
4) Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and stir until they start to crackle (about 10 seconds). If you have only cumin powder, do the same - you're sort of roasting the spice for a richer flavor.
5) Add onion, ginger, and garlic. Stir until onions are translucent.
6) Add turmeric, coriander, and red chili powder. Cook, stirring, for 20 seconds to a minute.
7) Add tomato sauce/tomatoes. Bring to a boil, while stirring, reduce heat and let simmer for a minute.
Put the pot back on a medium heat - they shouldn't take too long to warm back up. Add tomato mixture to the chana dal. Cook, while stirring, for a few minutes to allow the flavors to marry.
9) Add salt to taste. Remove from heat. Add lime or lemon juice and stir.
Serve alone, or with plain rice or flatbread.