I tend to eat this daal (yellow split peas) from a bowl like one would eat soup, with a touch of lime juice though it very nice with phulkas or paranthas too. It has a really hearty taste and is quite filling. My Ma usually tempers it with paanchphoran, which somehow suits this daal, IMO.
She often cooks it with bottle gourd (lauki) added to it, which I substitute with courgette since that Indian vegetable is not easy to find here.
And though I made it yesterday with the skin of the courgette peeled off, since the girls eat it more easily that way, it is probably better to retain the skin since that likely has a lot of nutrients.
I also usually make more of this daal than we need for one meal because the leftover portion, mixed with whole wheat flour, makes the dough for really soft and full-of-taste phulkas/paranthas the next day.
Chana Daal with Lauki or Courgette
1 cup of chana daal (yellow split pea lentils)
1 large or two small onions, chopped fine
1 medium sized or two small tomatoes, chopped fine
1/2 a teaspoon of grated ginger or ginger paste
1/2 a teaspoon (and perhaps a pinch more) of turmeric powder
1 courgette (300-400 grams), washed, peeled or preferably with the skin and diced in to chunks (neither too large nor too small)
salt (2 teaspoons or to taste)
2-3 tablespoons of sunflower oil
Also, ideally, 1 tablespoon of finely chopped coriander leaves
Soak the lentils for a couple of hours, then drain the water in which they were soaked and pressure cook with another three cups of water and salt till quite soft. This will probably need 6 to 8 whistles (if the pressure cooker is the Indian variety).
Remove the cooker off the hob and when all the steam has been released from the cooker, open the lid, stir the daal with a large spoon or ladle to break up the grains, then add the courgette and cook the mixture again -another couple of whistles should do it.
When the cooker is ready to be opened again add the turmeric and stir everything together gently so as not to smash the courgette pieces.
In the meanwhile, in a smaller frying pan, prepare the tadka. Heat the oil, then add paanchphoron.
As all the five spices of paanchphoron begin to crackle, add the onions and fry till they are golden brown. Add the ginger paste/grated ginger next and fry for another 30 seconds, then add the tomatoes and fry till the oil starts to appear on the sides. Now add the chopped coriander and mix everything well before adding this tadka to the daal in the cooker.
If the daal seems too thick then add a little boiled water (and salt, if needed). To finish, simmer the daal for a few minutes so that the tadka blends in well.