Pre-soaked dals and chilies are ground to a paste and steamed to form a dry, crumbly and savoury sauce that is combined and re-moistened with the cooking cabbage in Iyer's version, but I've fried the paste for ease of use instead here. Either way, the soft crumbs of dal provide an enjoyable contrast in texture with the crunch of lightly cooked cabbage, as well as a wholesome and delicious added layer of flavour.
Chopped Cabbage with a Crumbly Chana Dal SauceIf you liked this recipe you may also enjoy:
1 cup chana dal or yellow split peas
6 dried whole red chilies
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon asafoetida
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 tablespoon urad dal
1/2 medium head green cabbage, finely chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
handful fresh or dried curry leaves
handful fresh coriander, chopped
Rinse the chana dal or yellow split peas under running water. Place in a bowl and cover with water. If the water turns cloudy, drain and repeat until the water remains relatively clear. Add the chilies and soak for 3 to 4 hours.
To prepare the sauce, drain the dal and chilies and process in a food processor until a thick gritty paste is formed. Stir in the salt and asafoetida. Heat a frying pan over medium-low heat. When hot, add the olive oil, wait a few moments, then swirl around to coat the pan. Spread the dal paste over the pan and fry, turning over pieces of the paste occasionally, until the pieces are lightly browned on all sides and the dal is dry throughout — a toothpick inserted in the pieces should come out clean. Remove from heat and set aside.
Now heat a large saucepan or wok over medium heat. When hot, add the olive oil, wait a few moments again, and swirl around to coat the pan as before. Toss in the black mustard seeds and fry until the seeds start spluttering, a few seconds. Add the urad dal and stir until golden brown, about a minute. Add the cabbage and stir to coat the pieces with oil. Stir in the salt, cayenne, turmeric and curry leaves, add 1 cup of water, and turn down the heat to medium-low.
Break the dal pieces into small crumbs and stir into the cabbage. Cover the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has absorbed the liquid, about 12 to 15 minutes.
Remove from heat, stir in the coriander, and serve. Serves 6 to 8.
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