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  • Chana Dal with Ghiya
    Split Gram Lentils with Winter Melon

    YIELD: 8 CUPS / 1.9 L
    TOOLS: You’ll need an 8-inch / 20-cm frying pan, a plate, a mortar and pestle or spice grinder, a food processor, and a heavy-bottomed, 6-quart / 6-L stockpot or Dutch oven with a lid.

    Ghiya is a very common vegetable in Punjabi home cooking. I still remember eating it when I was a little girl—it was stir-fried with spices, ginger, and tomato over rice. Mixing it with chana dal and roasted ground coriander makes for pure comfort food and is perfect for a cold night. You can easily find it in most Indian grocery stores.

    • ¼ cup /20 g coriander seeds
    • 1 (2-inch / 5-cm) piece ginger, peeled and grated or minced
    • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and grated or minced
    • 1–3 fresh Thai, serrano, or cayenne chiles, stems removed and finely sliced
    • 1 medium tomato, coarsely chopped
    • 3 cups /600 g chana dal (dried, split, and skinned gram or black chickpeas), picked over, washed, soaked for 2–4 hours in 7 cups / 1.7 L of water, and drained
    • 1 medium ghiya (winter melon/ calabash) or fresh pumpkin, peeled and diced
    • 8 cups /1.9 L water
    • 2 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
    • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
    • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
    • 1 medium yellow onion, minced
    • 1 teaspoon Garam Masala
    • 2 teaspoons red chile powder or cayenne pepper
    • 1 tablespoon salt
    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
    • Brown or white basmati rice, for serving
    1. Place the coriander seeds in an 8-inch / 20-cm frying pan over medium–high heat and dry roast for 5 minutes, until the seeds turn reddish-brown and become aromatic. During the entire cooking time, shake the pan every 15 to 20 seconds to prevent the spices from burning. When roasting spices never leave the pan unattended—they burn easily. Remove from the heat, transfer to a plate, and set aside to cool for 15 minutes.
    2. Transfer the roasted coriander seeds to a mortar and pestle or spice grinder and grind them into a powder.
    3. In the bowl of a food processor, grind together the ginger, garlic, fresh chiles, and tomato until a smooth, watery paste forms.
    4. Combine the paste from Step 3, the chana dal, the ghiya, and the water in a heavy-bottomed, 6-quart / 6-L stockpot or Dutch oven over medium–high heat and bring to a boil.
    5. Reduce the heat to medium–low and simmer, partially covered, for 1 hour. Remove from the heat, cover, and set aside to cool slightly while you prep the remaining ingredients.
    6. Return the frying pan used in Step 1 to medium–high heat and warm the ghee. Add the cumin seeds and turmeric and cook for 40 seconds, until the cumin seeds sizzle and turn reddish-brown. Add the onion and cook for 6 minutes, until the onion is browned. Stir well.
    7. Add the roasted coriander that was set aside in Step 1, the Garam Masala, and the red chile powder to the frying pan and stir until fully combined. Remove from the heat and transfer the contents of the frying pan to the stockpot.
    8. Add the salt and cilantro to the stockpot and stir well. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, until the mixture is warmed through and well blended.
    9. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve with the brown or white basmati rice.

Indian For Everyone by Anupy Singla. Copyright © 2014 Anupy Singla. Published by Agate Publishing. All rights reserved.

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