Xanthan-Free Zone

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Archive for Dhal

Eggplant and Split Pea Dhal

This recipe is adapted from a new cookbook I bought – 660 Curries by Raghavan Iyer. I had an eggplant, I wanted to make dhal, and the index supplied me with this recipe. It is delicious.

One thing you will need is a mechanism for grinding up spices and a tablespoon of raw lentils. I use my mortar and pestle, which is a large heavy one made of what I guess is granite. If you have a good sort of blender or food processor that will probably work, or a spice grinder, but one of those small ceramic mortar and pestles will just not cut it.

Ingredients:
1 cup and 1 tbsp yellow split peas
2 tbsp vegetable oil or ghee
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 or more dried chillis, depending on your taste
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
12 curry leaves
1 large eggplant
salt to taste

Rinse the 1 cup of split peas in cold water then bring to the boil in a medium-sized saucepan with 3 cups of water. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for half an hour.

While it’s boiling, chop dried chilli and remove the seeds unless you want it very hot. Heat oil in a small frypan or saucepan and add chillies, coriander seeds and the tbsp of split peas. Fry until the coriander seeds are browned, maybe 1-2 minutes – be careful not to burn them. Remove the stuff from the pan with a slotted spoon or (my preference) strain the oil through a metal sieve into a larger frypan (which you will use in a minute). Put the spice-pea-chilli mix aside to cool.

Chop the onion and garlic, heat the oil from before and add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. When the mustard seeds are popping, add the onion and garlic and fry on a low heat. When the onions are soft and have lost that raw smell, add cubed eggplant and fry until it collapses. You can keep it on a low heat for a while, and just add a spash of water if it catches.

While this is all cooking, grind up your spice-pea-chilli mix. This takes 5-10 minutes in a good mortar and pestle and is quite fun.It should end up a gravelly paste consistency. Add to the split peas, then combine this with the eggplant and onion. Cook another 10 minutes, boiling down to a thick consistency. Add salt to taste. If you’re not ready to eat it right away, you can keep it on a low simmer for ages. It will get even more mooshed up and soft.

Serve with basmati rice. Serves about 4.

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