Slightly Sweet Bengal Gram Lentil Curry
- 2 pints water
- 9 ounces chana dhal (also called Bengal gram lentils), thoroughly cleaned
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 heaped teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 2 to 3 teaspoons sugar
- Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons mustard oil, unsalted butter or ghee
- 5 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
- 5 cloves
- 1 to 2 dried red chiles
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1 (1/2-inch) piece cinnamon stick
- 3 heaping tablespoons flaked or desiccated coconut or 1/4 small fresh coconut, flesh chopped into small cubes
Heat the water, lentils, and turmeric in a saucepan, and bring to the boil. Simmer the mixture for about 1 hour, or until soft. If necessary, add a bit of extra water.
Stir in the coriander, garam masala, sugar, and salt, to taste. Cook until the lentils are completely soft and beginning to break up.
Heat the oil or butter in a small pan. Fry the cardamom pods, cumin, mustard seeds, cloves, chiles, bay leaves, and cinnamon for 30 seconds. Be careful as the seeds may pop a bit. Add the coconut, and stir until it turns golden brown.
To serve the dish, stir the spice mixture into the lentils and divide among 4 serving plates.