Channa Dal

Scant 1 cup channa dal, washed
6 1/4 cups water
1 1/2 tbsp ghee or unsalted butter
3/4 tsp whole cumin seeds
2 bay leaves
2 dried red chiles
2 inch cinnamon stick
4 cardamoms
3/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp chile powder
1 1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp unsweetend shredded dried coconut (optional)
1 tbsp raisins (optional)

Bring the dal and water to the boil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Skim off any scum that forms.

Lower the heat, partially cover the pan and simmer for about an hour and a quarter until soft.

Heat ghee or butter in a small pan over medium heat, add the cumin sees, bay leaves, red chiles, cinnamon stick and cardamom and let them sizzle for a few seconds.

Add the turmeric, chile powder, ground cumin, salt, and sugar and stir fry for one minute. Add the coconut and raisins if using and fry for another minute or two.

Mix the ghee and spices with the dal and stir. Serve with rice, flatbread, cauliflower, or potatoes.

-adapted from Indian Vegetarian Cooking by Sumana Ray