Michael Kraus for The New York Times
- 1 cup split chickpeas (chana dal)
- 1 ½ teaspoons turmeric
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 bay leaf, preferably Indian
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons sunflower orsafflower oil
- 6 whole cloves
- 4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon crushed-red-chile flakes (optional)
- 3 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro
- Combine the chana dal, turmeric, cardamom, bay leaf, salt and 4 cups water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat so the mixture bubbles gently, cover partly and cook for 40 minutes. At that point, the mixture should still be quite moist; if it is not, add 1 cup additional water and continue cooking, covered, until the dal is tender, about 20 minutes; turn off the heat. Remove the bay leaf. Use an Indian mathani (see related article) to purée the dal for about 1 minute; the dal should be saucy but not soupy.
- To make the tadka, put the oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the cloves; let sizzle for about 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until medium brown. Stir in the chili flakes if you’re using them, and turn off the heat.
- Pour the tadka into the dal; stir gently to combine. Garnish with cilantro and serve.