This recipe produces a rich and creamy textured curry. Whether you’re vegetarian or not, you’ll be able to appreciate the earthy taste of the chana dhal. This dish can be eaten with naan, roti or rice.
Measure just under half a cup of chana dhal. Check the dhal in a plate for any black stones, sometimes these are missed out and don’t get removed when packaging. Rinse the dhal out with cold water a few times, this washes out any excess powder.
Cook the dhal in roughly 4 cups of water and a pinch of salt. Once the water is boiling, simmer the dhal for 20-30 minutes with the lid on. Stir it every now and then. To check it is cooked taste a few kernels, once cooked they should have a soft and creamy texture. Do not drain the water as this will also be added to the spinach. If you believe there is too much water you can reduce it by bringing the dhal back to the boil. Allow it to boil until some of the water has evaporated.
A milky froth forms as the dhal cooks.
Whilst the dhal is cooking you can make the curry base with spinach. Start by slicing 2 medium sized onions and cook them in a pan with 4 tbsp of cooking oil. Use a low to medium heat, this way the onions will not burn.
Grate 2 garlic cloves and add them to the onions.
For the spices you will need 1tsp chilli powder, 1tsp salt, 2tsp dried coriander seeds, 1/4 tsp turmeric, 1 small cinnamon stick and a bay leaf. Add this to the oil and cook for a few minutes.
Cook the onions until they are golden in colour.
Add 1tsp crushed fresh ginger and 150g of tinned tomato.
You can cook this on a low heat for 15 minutes. Stir regularly to ensure it doesn’t burn.
The oil will start to separate from the tomatoes when it is almost cooked.
Slice 200g of spinach and add this to the pan. This will take about 10 minutes to cook on a low-medium heat.
Add the cooked chana dhal to the pan. Cook for 15 minutes on a low heat with the lid on.