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Bini’s Channa dal recipe for the nhs staff

There was a request last night from a mum who wants to cook dal for her daughter who’s a nurse working hard at the moment to save lives. So here is a dal recipe to share.

I had a quick look at what was stored in my cupboards and here’s what I’ve created.

The Channa dal dish is tasty with the sweet lime pickle and crunchy popodom. I know you’ll have some at the back of the cupboard, time to search and get them out.

Richard said he’s now ready for an afternoon siesta.

Comforting food to give you all during this uncertain time.


For the dal preparation

225 g channa doll or yellow split peas washed and drained. ( you can use use red lentils or a 50/50 combination of red and yellow lentils – make sure they are split version for easy cooking)

1.5 L of water


For the masala

1tsp ground turmeric

2tspn fresh ginger peeked and chopped

4 cloves garlic chppped peeled and chopped

1-2 fresh green chillies

3 fresh medium tomatoes blanched, roughly chopped

1/4tsp red chilli powder to taste

2tspn Coriander and cumin powder

1 teaspoon of salt ( or to taste)

1/4 tsp sugar (to taste)

a dash lemon juice (to taste)

1 tsp Binis garam masala ( buy from me)

Handful of chopped coriander


Tempering of spices – vagar / tarka

2-3tbsp ghee/vegetable oil

1tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp mustard seeds

A large Pinch of asefortida powder


  1. Wash the dal and drain. Place into a saucepan with the water and cook until it is smooth. The dal must break up easily when you crush a little against the side of the saucepan with a spoon. This will take 50-60 minutes on the medium to low  setting. Ensure there is sufficient water throughout.  To avoid the dal from burning. NB Scoop up any scum that appears on surface of the water with a ladle.
  2. Next, heat the oil/ghee In a saucepan, Test the oil with a few mustard seeds and once they begin to pop add the remainder of the mustard seed, cumin seeds, asafoetida powder and then the (NB below) chopped tomatoes. Stir well. Cool for 2-3 minutes on a low/medium setting.
  3. Now add the Ginger, garlic and green chilli and stir. You will have a beautiful aroma released. Cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Next, add the dry spices as well as the salt, turmeric powder, chilli powder, Binis Garam masala, coriander and cumin powder. Stir well.
  5. Add half the coriander Into the masala. Cook on a low temperature until the oils come to the surface.
  6. Now combine the dal to the masala. ( without the water).
  7. Heat gently staring throughout. Add some dal water as required. It will depend on the consistency of the dal you would like to create on how much water you would like to add.  Once heated through and combined well check for seasoning. Add sugar and lemon to your liking.
  8. Garnish with fresh coriander.


NB Depending on what you have in your store cupboard or fridge you could add curry leaf to the masala at the tempering stage as well as 1/2 sliced onion cook for 2 mins to allow them to brown, to bulk it out and to sweeten the dish.



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