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Cover: Some like it hot

Recipes with Chana Daal

03Jul 12

Spicy Tomato Chutney

Spicy Tomato ChutneyChutneys are a clever and delectable way to consume your daily intake of fruits and veggies. You can use them in all sorts of dishes to jazz them up or create an interesting twist on the flavours, or simply enjoy on top of  a hunk of bread with a side of cheese.


I suggest you try my recipe for tomato chutney, as it is a very versatile chutney that goes well with rice and with tandoori chicken kebabs. This is a great recipe for the summer when tomatoes are in season.


  • ¼ teaspoons mustard seeds
  • 2 red chilli peppers, whole
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Channa Dal nuts
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons ginger powder
  • 2 green chilli peppers, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cashew nuts, chopped
  • 10 large, fresh tomatoes, chopped into 2 cm by 2 cm cubes
  • 4 curry leaves
  • Pinch of salt
  • Vegetable oil

Preparation Method:

  1. Heat vegetable oil in a frying pan.
  2. When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds. Be careful because they pop, and you don’t  want to get burned.
  3. Add the red chillies and fry them for 20 seconds. Since they are whole, the seeds won’t come out of the pepper, and so the chutney won’t be too hot.
  4. Fry the cumin seeds.
  5. Now add the Channa Dal and fry for 30 seconds.
  6. Slowly add the onion and garlic. Add a pinch of salt so that the onion “sweats” a little. Cook this for about 4 minutes until the garlic and onions are softer.
  7. Add the ginger powder. It should sizzle in the pan.
  8. Add the green chilli peppers.
  9. Chop the cashew nuts (but not too small as we’re going to put this all in the blender anyway) and put them in the pan.
  10. Add in the tomatoes and curry leaves. You do not need to chop the curry leaves.
  11. Cover the pot and let it simmer for an hour on a very low heat. You should check it every so often and slowly stir it. You can actually let this simmer for up to 2 hours, and it will be even tastier.
  12. When finished, pour everything into the blender for 30 seconds. You do not want to blend for much longer as you want there to be some chunks of whole tomato left.
  13. Return to the pot and stir slowly. Add salt to taste.
  14. Serve on bread with cheese or as part of a meat dish. You could also store it in glass jars for future use.

Takes: 2 hours
Makes: Enough for 10 servings

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13Jun 12

Puran Poli

Puran PoliPuran Poli makes a mouth-watering meal. It is a type of flatbread similar to Naan but with a sweet flavour. It is tied for my favourite breakfast food along with spicy Indian scrambled eggs, either of which can be served with ghee. As a tasty dessert, puran poli can be served sprinkled with powdered sugar or chocolate syrup.


  • 400g Chana Dal
  • 400g chopped jaggery
  • 2.5 tsp. cardamon powder
  • 500g Maida (all-purpose flour)
  • 4 tbsps. vegetable oil
  • pinch of salt

Preparation Method:

  1. Wash the Chana Dal thoroughly. Cover them with water and leave them to soak overnight.
  2. Drain the Chana Dal. Put in a pot with 1 litre of water and cook until soft (about 35 minutes).
  3. Strain the water. Lower the flame.
  4. Add the chopped jaggery. Stir slowly until they melt. Make sure all the liquid fully evaporates. The Chana Dal and the jaggery should form a solid paste.
  5. Slowly stir in the cardamon powder.
  6. Set it aside in a bowl and allow it to cool.
  7. Sieve the Maida and salt in a sieve or a sifter.
  8. Put the sieved Maida flour in a bowl. Add some water and vegetable oil.
  9. Knead the dough until it is soft, elastic and smooth. If you find that the dough is not becoming soft enough, just slowly add in a bit more water, but do not overdo it!
  10. Divide the dough into 8 portions. Slowly roll each portion into perfectly round balls.
  11. Prepare a rolling surface by cleaning it and sprinkling it with flour.
  12. Take one of the 8 dough balls and flatten it into a round, thin circle. Do this first gently with your fingers. Then use a rolling pin afterwards.
  13. Take a small spoon of the paste and place it gently in the centre of the flat dough circle.
  14. Pick the sides of the dough up and press them against the paste. Do this until they entirely cover the paste. Try not to break the outer covering of the dough. If a small hole appears as you are closing the seams over the paste, just take a small dollop of dough and press it gently over the hole so that it is covered.
  15. Flatten the ball with your fingers. With a rolling pin, gently roll it into a flat circle.
  16. Heat pan on a medium flame. When it is very hot, place the rolled poli on it and cook.
  17. Flip and fry it on the other side until it is well cooked.

Takes: 10 hours (including soaking time).
Makes: Enough for 8 servings.

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