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Slow-cooked chickpeas with "daal dust"

Updated: Aug 30, 2022

The partition of India in 1947 led to the state of Punjab being divided between the two countries. However, the traditions and cuisine persisted with the communities and are very similar even today. This dish is an example, it is a common recipe with small variations across the border, and between houses.

This is a simple recipe where the talented chef, Sumayya Usmani, has given an everyday dish a very contemporary twist. However, the traditional glory of the dish is preserved in its entirety. The chana (split chickpeas) are cooked to perfection, with a tender bite to add texture. They are loaded with intense garlic and coated in chaat masala and the beautiful "daal dust" that adds subtle flavours. The addition of the sweet date chutney does the magic, making this dish addictive. This will be a dish that your guests will think is ordinary, till they take their first bite.

This is a wonderful cookbook of ancient and modern cuisine from Pakistan. A beautiful cookbook, with gorgeous photographs and packed with tons of traditional recipes. The author has kept to the traditional flavours allowing the cuisine to express itself, with aromatic spices and bold flavours. This is a beautiful cookbook and one for anyone who would like to enjoy this cuisine.

For more recipes from this cookbook, click here.


1 1/2 split chana dal, soaked in water overnight

1 garlic clove, sliced

1 teaspoon red chilli powder

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1-inch piece cinnamon stick

Salt, to taste

1 1/2 cups water

10-12 shallots, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons oil

2 tablespoons ghee

5 garlic cloves, sliced

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

2 dried red chillies

10 curry leaves

1 onion, thinly sliced

1/2 cup cilantro leaves

1-inch ginger, julienned into thin matchsticks

1 teaspoon chaat masala, any commercial variety is okay

1 teaspoon daal dust, see recipe below

2 tablespoons tamarind sauce

Daal dust or Pakistani garam masala:

2-inch cinnamon stick

10 cloves

5 green cardamom pods

Tamarind sauce:

1/2 cup tamarind pulp

1 teaspoon roasted ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon black salt (Kala namak)

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon chilli powder

8 dates

2-4 tablespoons of water

To make the “daal dust”, dry roast the whole spices individually on a dry frying pan till aromatic and lightly toasted. Cool and grind to a fine powder in a spice mill. Store in a dry container.

To make the tamarind sauce, add all the ingredients to a small blender and purée till smooth. Pass through a fine-mesh sieve. The chutney can be stored in the fridge for 4-6 days.

Fry the shallots in the oil on a low flame till deep golden. Remove and drain on paper towels. Set aside.

Rinse the soaked dal out and add to a large pot with the garlic, chilli powder, turmeric, cinnamon, salt, and water. Bring to a boil, turn the heat down and simmer gently for 18-20 minutes till the dal is cooked but still retains a bite. The dal should always retain its shape. When cooked, drain out any remaining water.

In a small frying pan heat the ghee. Add the onions and sauté on a medium-low flame till the onions are golden brown. Add the garlic and continue to cook till the onions are a deep brown. Add the cumin, dried red chillies, and curry leaves and stir to mix well. Sauté for another 30 seconds.

Add to the cooked dal and toss well, cooking for an additional minute.

Ladle the dal into a shallow bowl. Top with the fried shallots. Sprinkle the chaat masala over the dal, as well as the daal dust. Garnish with the ginger and serve with the tamarind sauce on the side.

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