This recipe for Savoury Chana Dal Fritters is a fantastic treat for the family
2/3 cup chana dal, rinsed
1 1/2 tablespoons ghee or other oil
2 to 3 green chilies, seeded and minced
2cm piece ginger, grated or minced
1/2 tablespoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon asafetida
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
water as needed (about 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup)
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon arrowroot powder
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
peanut oil or other high-smoking point oil for frying
Soak the dal in enough water to cover for 5 to 6 hours. Drain, rinse again, and transfer to a food processor.
Heat the ghee or oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the chilies, ginger, coriander seeds and fennel seeds, and fry for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the turmeric, cumin, cayenne, and asafetida, stir a few times, and then add the tomatoes. Simmer, stirring often, until the tomatoes are reduced to a fairly thick paste. Set aside to cool a bit.
Add 4 tablespoons of water to the dal in the food processor and pulse for 3 to 4 minutes, stopping often to scrape down the sides as needed and also adding a bit more water as need. You want a smooth and airy batter. Add the tomato mixture, arrowroot and sea salt, and process for another 30 seconds. Scrape the batter into a bowl.
Heat 6cm of oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or deep frying pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, drop a small bit of the batter into the oil. When the oil is ready, the batter should rise immediately to the top. Carefully lower several portions of about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the batter into the hot oil, taking care not to crowd the pan. When the patties begin to rise to the surface, gently move them around to brown evenly. This should take about 3 to 4 minutes, until crisp and golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining fritters. They can be kept warm in a 100C oven until the fritters are finished. They can also be reheated for a few minutes under the broiler.
Serve hot or warm with your favorite chutneys and sauces.