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This recipe takes a bit of forward planning, but it’s worth it; even DH likes this curry! The lentil cakes are made from channa dal; unlike some pulses, there doesn’t seem to be an English translation. Channa dal is channa dal. I get mine from my local Indian store. Don’t be put off by the seemingly long list of ingredients; this is due to the spices, some of which appear more than once. Preparation time doesn’t include overnight soaking and the chilling time for the lentil cakes. This recipe comes from “The Complete Indian Cookbook” and is posted for Zaar World Tour 2005.
- 5 ounces channa dal, washed
- 4 cups water, for soaking
- 3⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1⁄2 inch piece gingerroot, grated
- 2 tablespoons desiccated coconut
- 2 green chilies
- 1⁄2 cup water
- 3⁄4 cup oil
- 3 medium potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1⁄2 teaspoon cumin seed
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1⁄2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 1 1⁄2 cups water
- 1⁄2 teaspoon garam masala (to garnish)
- TO MAKE THE LENTIL CAKES: Soak the dal overnight in 4 cups of water, then drain off the water.
- Mix the drained dal with remaining lentil cake ingredients and whiz them in a blender until you have a smooth creamy paste (add a little extra water to achieve this consistency if necessary).
- Heat just over half of the oil (from the curry sauce list of ingredients) in a large frying pan (or karai); fry the lentil mixture over a medium heat until it leaves the side of the pan and a ball forms (sounds strange, but you’ll know it when you see it).
- Spread the lentil mix onto a greased plate, to a depth of ½ inch; leave this to cool and set.
- When set, cut the dal into 1 inch squares; then heat the rest of the oil in a frying pan over a medium high heat and fry the dal squares a few at a time, until golden brown; set aside.
- CURRY SAUCE: Fry the potatoes in a large lidded frying pan until lightly browned; set aside.
- Lower the heat to medium and in the same pan add the cumin seeds and bay leaves, let them sizzle for a few seconds; add the turmeric, chilli, coriander, salt and tomatoes and fry for two minutes; add water and bring to the boil.
- Add the potatoes, cover and cook for 10 minutes then add the fried dal squares; cover again and cook until the potatoes are tender (approximately 5-10 minutes).
- Add the ghee, if using, and sprinkle on the garam masala; remove from heat and serve hot.