2 TBSP ghee (or vegetable oil)
1 TBSP cumin seeds
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp mango powder
1/8 tsp garlic
1 cup split mung beans
3 roma tomatoes
1 medium yellow onion
1 bunch of cilantro
1 bag of chapati
Lightly fry the cumin seed and turmeric in the ghee. Use medium low or low heat, you don’t want to brown the cumin seeds. Just heat them enough until you smell them. Then add the garlic and the mango powder and stir, to get the flavors activated.
Next add 1 cup of mung beans and 2.5 cups of water. Add 1tsp salt and bring to a boil. Then lower heat to low, put a lid on it, and let it sit undisturbed for 20 minutes.
During that 20 minutes, roughly chop the onion and soften it in the ghee, careful not to brown or fry the onion. You just want to sweeten it. Once it is sweet and soft, turn up the heat to brown it slightly. Then set it aside. Chop up the tomatoes, sprinkle some salt on them, let them sit for a bit, then toss them in the fry pan with a little more ghee. Put a lid over the tomatoes so they cook down. While the tomatoes are going, chop up 1/3 of the cilantro bunch.
After 20 minutes, take the lid off the beans. Add a little water if it is too dry. Now add the onions, tomatoes and chopped cilantro. Stir, taste for salt, and add some if it needs it. Finally twist a quarter of a lime over the dhal to add the juice.
Let it simmer on low heat so the flavors meld. Now heat up a skillet with no butter or oil, and heat the chapattis. I usually make 4 for 2 people – but that’s because we eat big bowls with a little bread, instead of little bowls with lots of bread like they do in India. Oh, the land of big screen TVs and monster trucks.
Finally dish out the dhal into some bowls, add a dollup of plain yogurt and sprinkle on some cilantro. You’re all set!
Recipe: Nathan Verrill