Punjabi Dal is a thick, wholesome version of the ever-popular lentil curry that is bursting with flavour. Popular in the North of India, this is best with a dollop of ghee and scooped into roti parcels with your fingers. On my holidays in Delhi as a child, the rotis would be laced with white butter, which we kids would promptly smear all over our mouths as lip-gloss! In case you’re wondering, I don’t roll out the rotis on battle ravaged days - I’ll always have a pack of ready-made ones in the freezer for those meals. The original recipe was an inspiration from Monica of the Spice Club (http://spicediary.com/2013/10/13/urad-chana-dal-masala-spicy-punjabi-dal/). My version here uses a batch of home made tomato curry sauce as a shortcut. This dal is lovely mopped up with flatbreads. Roti liberally rubbed with butter is best. —Mallika
Wash the lentils well in a sieve with cold running tap until the water runs clear.
Then bring to boil with twice as much cold water, and bubble on medium high for at least 30 minutes until the mixture resembles a thick soup. You’ll have to keep adding water to prevent the mixture from drying up too much and burning.
Just remember to add half a cup of hot water at a time only. I always keep a boiled kettle ready when I make dal.
Check for salt at this stage, and add it to your liking. Then make the tadka. Bring the ghee to heat on medium in a small saucepan.
When it’s hot, add the pinch of hing and the cumin seeds, and as they sizzle up stir the tadka into the dal.
Ladle into a bowl, sprinkling the garam masala and fresh coriander (if using) on top to serve.