This is my mother's recipe. There are variations throughout India and this is from Northern India (Punjab). It is actually a relatively easy recipe and can be left unattended for the majority of the time. Make sure to use the best and freshest ingredients available. Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for a few days.
- 2 cups chickpeas (not canned)
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1⁄2 large chopped onions
- 10 garlic cloves
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 inch chopped ginger (finely chopped or put in food processor)
- 2 chopped tomatoes, skins removed (to be processed in 1/2 tomato portions at a time)
- 1 green onion, chopped
- 0.25 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
- 2 small potatoes, cut into chunks
- 2 teaspoons chana masala (optional)
- 1 teaspoon dry crushed red pepper
- 2 tablespoons garam masala (found in Indian stores or ethnic food section)
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- Wash chickpeas in water.
- Put chickpeas in fresh water with salt, two parts water to one part chickpeas.
- Leave overnight to soak.
- Put chickpeas (with water they were soaked in) into a large pot. Top up water to maintain 2 parts water to 1 part chickpea ratio if necessary. Bring water to a boil.
- Cover and turn down to medium (level 5) heat, skim off any white foam.
- Leave to simmer until chickpeas are tender, usually 2 or 3 hours.
- Take off heat.
- In a large pot, sauté onions and garlic on high heat, then turn down to (medium-high) level 8.
- When onions are thoroughly transparent put in ginger.
- Continue to sauté until mixture is sticking to bottom and brown bits are evident.
- Put onion mixture in a food processor and mix (not steadily) until smooth.
- Process tomato, 1/2 tomato portions at a time.
- Put mixture back into large pot.
- Add green onion.
- Heat should be at (medium-high) level 8.
- When mixture starts to bubble add tomato paste.
- Stir for 1 to 2 minutes until butter is released and mixture does not stick to pot.
- Add in potatoes.
- Add in chana masala.
- Reduce heat to level 7.
- Put in chickpeas with a slotted spoon.
- Water is NOT put in, but put aside for later.
- Mix for about 2 minutes Add in red pepper, masala.
- Mix for a further 2 minutes.
- Add water from chickpeas, additional water can be added to give mixture a watery consistency (mixture should not be too thick looking initially, as mixture will reduce, usually you can add in another cup of water).
- Add turmeric.
- Bring mixture to a boiling point on max heat, then reduce heat to level 7. Cover partially and mix infrequently.
- Once potatoes are tender, the daal is done.
- This daal is typically eaten with Indian bread- naan or chapati.
- As with most Indian cooking there is no"true" recipe, the cook decides what the recipe needs (somewhat of a hit and miss strategy, but it works).
- If you are unable to find garam masala the following can be used: 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, 1/4 teaspoon cracked dried bay leaves, and 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves.