Cooking Classes


Chana Dal with Curried Chicken

I don't remember which came first, the chana dal or the curried chicken. I believe it was the chicken. I am on a mission to use what is in my freezer and I found a bag of chicken legs. I also had a jar of Chatty's Curry Paste. Chatty's Indian Spices has been producing their yummy mixtures in Saskatchewan since 1996. This was the opportunity to try it out. Good pairing, I thought. No recipe here. Just remove the skin from the legs, put in a slow cooker, add jar of curry paste and a cup of water. Cook for 3 hours on low.

My cold room offered up chana dal peas and the menu was set. Chana is a split chickpea. The dal doesn't become as creamy thick as other lentil dals. This recipe is stellar. I like to spoon dal over my rice or scoop it up with a chapati.

An Indian meal is not complete without chapatis. I thought they would be beyond my ability but I tried this recipe. It provides a step by step tutorial and a recipe. I highly recommend it. I remember when I visited my sister while she lived in India. The women in the house laughed at her square chapatis. Well, they might be perfectly round in the tutorial but that is not easily accomplished. However, they still taste good.

I used my hard white spring wheat flour. It made a chapati that was more substantial than using white flour but without the stronger flavour of whole wheat flour made from hard red spring wheat.

Chana Dal

    ¾ cup chana dal
    2 1/2 or 3 cups water
    ¼ tsp turmeric
    2 medium sized tomatoes
    ½ cup chopped onion
    1 inch ginger, finely chopped
    4-5 garlic, finely chopped
    1 green chili, chopped
    ¾ tsp cumin seeds
    ½ tsp red chili powder
    ¼ tsp turmeric powder
    1 tsp coriander powder
    1 or 1.5 tsp kasoori methi  or dried thyme
    2 tbsp butter or ghee
    salt as required
    a few coriander/cilantro leaves for garnishing

    Pick and rinse the dal well.
    Soak the dal for an hour.
    Drain and pressure cook the dal with water and turmeric powder till they are soft and well cooked, about 10 minutes.
    Meanwhile, heat butter or ghee. Add the cumin first and fry for a few seconds. Add the garlic and fry till they become light brown. Now add the onions and fry till they get golden. Add the tomatoes, ginger and green chili.
    Stir and add all the dry spice powders.
    Saute till the tomatoes get cooked and the oil starts to leave the side of the mixture.
    Add the kasoori methi and fry for some seconds.
    Pour this mixture on the dal. Stir and simmer for 5-7 minutes till you get medium consistency of the dal. The dal is neither thick nor thin.
    Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve the hot with basmati rice or rotis or bread.
Saffron Basmati Rice
         by Sunny Anderson

2 cups basmati rice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, smashed
3 to 4 threads saffron
Pinch of cayenne pepper
3 to 3 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup almond slivers, toasted
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Rinse the rice in a colander under cold water until it runs clear, picking out any little pieces of grit or debris. Shake off the excess water. Heat a pot over medium heat, and then add the rice, oil, garlic, saffron and cayenne pepper. Stir and toast the rice until the cayenne and saffron are fragrant, about 4 minutes. Shake the pot to level out the rice, and then add the chicken stock to fill about 1/2-inch over the rice. Bring to a boil, and then lower to a simmer and cover to cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the rice stand another 5 minutes, covered. Fluff with a fork. Stir in the almond slivers and lemon zest, season with salt and pepper and serve.


  1. It always makes me feel good when I decide it is time to use what is in my freezer, refrigerator and pantry. I am amazed at what lurks on the shelves.
    Sarah, this looks really good. I really enjoy Indian food and when it can be made conveniently even better.

  2. Yes, Velva, it does feel good to make a nice meal and just choose from your pantry.

  3. Hi Sarah!
    Love this book group had an Indian lunch yesterday and she served something quite similar. She served JALEBI for dessert along with chai tea. Fun!


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