I was never such a big fan of Chana Dal. I barely experiment with it. I had Chana Dal Tadka for the first time at an Indian restaurant in Paris.
While we were holidaying in Paris, we were starved beyond words, & were craving for some authentic Indian stuff. For how long can you eat Croissants & Baguettes afterall? When, we found a nice little Indian restaurant & I just couldn't wait to lay my hands on some lovely Rice & Dal Tadka. The restaurant had limited options for the vegetarians & they only served only chana dal. I had no choice but to opt for it & thought I wasn't going to like it one bit.
When the waiter served, Dal Tadka, It looked really bland & had no traces of either onions or tomatoes or any other seasoning.
(I gave him a stare as though I am the Czarina of Indian Cuisine, implying that one can't just whip up something in an alien country & serve it as authentic Indian Stuff. )
But I was sooo terribly wrong. The dal tasted great & had an amazing texture. It was actually more than perfect. Yes, I ate one of the best Dal Tadkas in Paris. And, I knew that I was going to recreate this at home some day.
We got together to guessing what all might have gone into the Dal & I think we got most of it.
Here's how it was made,
You Will Need:
- 1 1/2 cups Chana Dal
- 1 red onion - chopped
- 2 tomatoes - chopped
- 2 green chillies
- 2 green cardamoms
- 2 cloves
- A small stick of cinnamon
- A handful of cashewnuts
- A small piece of ginger
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 dry red chilli - broken
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 2 tsp red chilli powder
- cilantro for garnish
- 2 tsp oil
- 1 tsp desi ghee
- Soak chana dal in water for about 15 minutes & pressure cook the dal until completely cooked. See to it that the dal does not get mushy & retains its shape
- Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan & add slit green chillies, cardamoms, cloves & cinnamon. Saute for about 20 seconds.
- Add chopped onions & saute till they turn transpatent. Add turmeric, red chilli powder & tomatoes & cook until oil separates & tomatoes turn pulpy
- Switch off the stove & allow it to cool. Once cool, grind this along with ginger & cashewnuts.
- Heat oil in a pan & add cooked chana dal & the ground paste & bring it to a boil. Add water to get the desired consistency. Add salt as per taste.
- Temper with cumin seeds & broken red chilli. Garnish with finely chopped cilantro.
Serve Hot with Rotis/Rice. Enjoy !!!
This one was really close to the one we had in Paris & enjoyed it quite a bit. The spices were mild & cashews added their bit of sweetness & gave a nice creamy consistency to the dal. I loved the texture & taste of chana dal too.
All the credit goes to Shankar for patiently listening to me on how to got about the whole thing & creating some lovely comfort food.
Hope you guys are going to try this too.
NOTE: While grinding the ingredients, we let a few rustic pieces of onions & tomatoes remain, since we like biting into tiny bits of veggies. But you could grind it into a smooth paste as well.