• Avial With Tarka Chana Dhal

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    • 1 x 400 gram can drumsticks in brine
    • 1 x 400 gram can sliced lotus in brine
    • 1/2 x Fresh coconut, flesh and water
    • 2 x Fresh green chillies, roughly minced (2 To 4)
    • 2 x Garlic cloves
    • 1 sm Sour mango, skinned, stoned and minced
    • 50 gm Natural lowfat yoghurt, (2oz)
    • 4 Tbsp. Coconut oil
    • 2 tsp Mustard seeds
    • 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
    • 1 tsp Turmeric
    • 10 x Curry leaves Salt to taste
    • 225 gm Red lentils, polished and split (8oz)
    • 4 Tbsp. Vegetable ghee
    • 1 tsp Cumin seeds
    • 1/2 tsp Turmeric
    • 6 x Garlic cloves, finely minced
    • 175 gm Onion tarka, (6oz)
    • 1 1/2 Tbsp. Curry masala paste
    • 2 tsp Garam masala Aromatic salt to taste


    1. Avial: Strain the drumsticks and the lotus, reserving the liquid. Put the coconut flesh and water, the chillies, garlic, mango flesh and lowfat yoghurt in a blender and process to a paste. Add in a little of the drumstick/lotus liquid if the paste is too dry.
    2. Heat the oil in a karahi or possibly wok. Add in the seeds and turmeric and stir fry for about 30 seconds. Add in the curry leaves and almost at once, the paste. Stir fry for about 3 min, then add in just sufficient drumstick liquid to keep things mobile. You can make the dish runnier by adding water as required. Add in salt to taste.
    3. For the Tarka dhal: Pick through the lentils to remove any grit. Rinse several times and strain, then soak them in ample water for 4 hrs.
    4. Drain and rinse the lentils, then measure an amount of water twice the volume of the liquid removed lentils into a 2.25 litre (4 pint) saucepan.
    5. Bring to the boil, put in the lentils amd simmer for 30 min, stirring as the water is absorbed. The texture should be pourable, not too thick, and not too thin.
    6. Meanwhile, heat the ghee in a karhi or possibly wok, and stir fry the seeds and turmeric for about 30 seconds. Add in the garlic and continue to stir fry for a further minute. Add in most of the tarka and the masala paste, and, when simmering, turn off the heat.
    7. When the lentils are cooked, add in the stir fry garam masala, and salt to taste, Serve garnished with the remaining tarka and the avial.

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