Channa dal (also known as gram lentils) gives this dish a deliciously nutty flavour. Serve as a main course with rice, fresh chutney, drained yoghurt and chopped hot red chillies.
½ cup channa dal or split yellow peas 1 cup split red lentils 1.5 litres water (about 3 pints US / 2½ pints UK) 3 cups chopped cauliflower florets 1½ tsp salt 2 Tbsp vegetable oil 2 onions, peeled and finely sliced 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped 2 green chillies, chopped 1 Tbsp peeled and finely grated ginger 1 tsp chilli powder 1 tsp turmeric 2 medium tomatoes, skinned and chopped Topping 2 Tbsp vegetable oil 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced ½ tsp cumin seeds 3 cloves 2 Tbsp chopped coriander (cilantro)
1 Pick over channa dal, transfer to a sieve and rinse under running cold water until the water runs clear. Soak in cold water for 15 minutes. Drain and transfer to a saucepan. Put lentils in a sieve, rinse under running water until water runs clear, then add to pan. Pour in cold water and gently bring to the boil. Lower heat and cook gently, uncovered, for 20 minutes, or until lentils are tender. Add cauliflower and salt and cook for a further 5 minutes.
2 Heat oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add onions and fry until golden. Add garlic, chillies, ginger, chilli powder and turmeric. Fry for 1 minute, then add tomatoes, along with the contents of the saucepan of channa dal, lentils and cauliflower. Bubble everything together gently for 10 minutes.
3 For the topping, heat the oil in a small frying pan and when it is hot add garlic, cumin seeds and cloves. Fry for about a minute, stirring once or twice, or until very fragrant (don’t let the garlic burn). Carefully tip into the dal (be prepared for it to splutter!) and stir in with coriander. Serve.