- 200g whole dried black lentils (also called urad dhal or black gram)
- 100g dried kidney beans
- groundnut or coconut oil or ghee, for frying
- 2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 cardamom pods, split
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 12 tsp red chilli powder
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- a thumb-size piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 tbsp tomato purée
- 2 tomatoes, finely chopped (or 12 400g tin of chopped tomatoes)
- a small bunch of fresh coriander, leaves picked and roughly chopped
- First soak your lentils and beans in a deep bowl of cold water ─ overnight is ideal but a few hours will do.
- Next, heat a little oil in a large pan and gently fry the onions for 10─15 minutes, until sweet, soft and lightly browned. Add the cumin seeds, cardamom pods, turmeric, chilli powder, fennel seeds, garlic, ginger and tomato purée and stir for a couple of minutes.
- Drain the lentils and beans and add to the pan with the chopped tomatoes and 2 litres of cold water. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to a fairly gentle simmer, put the lid on and cook for 2─2 1/2 hours, until the lentils and beans are cooked and the liquor is thick, dark and deeply flavoured. Stir the dhal from time to time while it cooks, and top up with a little hot water from the kettle if it looks too dry.
- Once the lentils and beans are cooked through, mash about half of them to a paste, using a potato masher in the pan, then stir together to make the dhal super creamy.
- Scoop the dhal into bowls and finish with a little yoghurt, if you like, and a good pile of chopped coriander. Serve warm, with soft, fluffy naans or chapattis.
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