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Amiri Khaman (imperial Lentils)

2 cups chana dal
1 cup vegetale oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
a pinch of asafetida
10 fresh hot green chilies -- ground in a blender (10 to 12)
a small piece of gingerroot -- peeled and chopped
15 garlic cloves -- peeled and chopped
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
salt to taste
1/4 lemon -- juice of
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1/4 fresh coconut -- meat removed and grated
store-bought sev -- (chick-pea-flour noodles)


Soak the chana dal in water for 6 to 8 hours. Drain and grind coarsely in a food processor, forming a thick paste. If necessary, add a little water, but use as little as possible. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the mustard seeds. When they begin to crackle, add the asafetida and the dal paste, stirring constantly to prevent sticking. When the mixture is dry, add the green chilies, ginger, garlic, turmeric, salt, sugar, and lemon juice; stir well. Sprinkle in 2 tablespoons of milk every 5 minutes, and keep stirring over medium-low heat. Repeat until all the milk has been added and is absorbed. When the dal separates from the pan, the khaman is ready. Spread it on a large flat plate, and garnish with the cilantro and coconut. Top with fine ready-made salted sev.

serves 6


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