Friday, October 17, 2008

Channa Daal Tarka

For the daal

1 cup channa daal, pick out stones, wash, soak for one hour
3 cups water
1 inch chunk of ginger crushed
1/2 tsp turmeric
salt to taste
1 chopped tomato

Boil daal, skim off scum, lower heat, add in raw ginger and turmeric, and cook partially covered until daal is nicely tender and slightly mashed but not obliterated. This will take about 40 minutes. About 10 minutes before the daal is done, add in the chopped tomato. Adding the tomato at the end will cook it but prevent it from completely breaking up. I like to get a bite of chopped tomato in my daal.

For the tarka:
1 finely sliced onion
1 tsp cumin seeds
3-4 whole dried red chilies
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 to 1 tsp dried red chili powder
garlic cut into slivers
2-3 tbs to 1/4 cup oil

In the oil "bhuna" or brown the onion. This means put sliced onions in oil on high heat and then cook until they turn translucent, then lower heat and allow to caramelize, stirring occasionally for 25 minutes or so. When they are reddish and skinny, they are "bhuna hua." When the onions are almost fully bhuna-ed, they will be mostly brown, but still have a little bit of translucence, at this point, put the heat up to medium and add in the whole chilies, the garlic, and the cumin seeds. Allow to cook until the garlic is golden and crispy. If you time it right, the garlic and onion will finish at the same time. At the last minute, turn up the heat to high, put in the cumin and red chili powders, then quickly, before they burn, dump the whole tarka into the daal. Stir once to evenly distribute the onions and all, but leave some of the oil and onions on top, then garnish with cilantro.

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