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Author Notes: Adapted very slightly from Raghavan Iyer’s "660 Curries." —Nicholas Day
Makes 4 cups
- 1 cup chana dal (yellow split peas)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 3 tablespoons ghee, divided
- 2 red onions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 3 dried bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 2 tablespoons ginger, minced
- 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
- 1 cup tomato, chopped
- 1 serrano chile, seeded and minced (if no sensitive palates present, quadruple)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- Rinse split peas in several changes of water until the water runs clear. Drain. Add 3 cups of water and turmeric and bring to a boil. Skim foam and simmer the peas, uncovered, until they are cooked but al dente, approximately 30 minutes.
- Add 2 more cups water and simmer until tender, approximately 15 more minutes.
- In the meantime, heat 2 tablespoons ghee in a large pan on high heat. Add onion, raisins, and bay leaves, and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions look almost fried. Remove from pan.
- In pan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon ghee over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and cook just until they sizzle, which will be almost immediately. Add ginger and garlic and cook for a minute, stirring.
- Add tomato, chiles, salt, garam masala, and 1 cup water. Scrape all the good bits off the bottom of the pan.
- When the peas are tender, add the tomato-cumin mixture to the peas and simmer, uncovered, for another 15 minutes or so, until the tastes meld.
- Add the onion-raisin mixture. Eat.
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