|5 tablespoons||split skinned toovar dal (yellow lentils)|
|3 1/2 cups||water|
|1 1/2 tablespoons||ghee (or oil)|
|1 1/2 teaspoons||black mustard seeds|
|1||fresh hot red chile such as serrano or thai, halved lengthwise|
|500 g||plum tomatoes, chopped|
|2 tablespoons||grated fresh ginger|
|1 teaspoon||ground coriander|
|1 teaspoon||tamarind paste|
|1/2 teaspoon||ground cumin|
|3||fresh hot green chillies such as serrano or thai, halved lengthwise|
|fresh coriander to garnish, optional|
Pick over the dal to remove any small stones etc. Wash the dal thoroughly until the water runs clear, and drain well in a sieve. Cook the dal at a bare simmer in 1 1/2 cups water for 40-45 minutes, until almost all of the water is absorbed, stirring frequently during the last 15 minutes to prevent scorching.
Heat the ghee in a large heavy saucepan over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then cook mustard seeds and red chile until the seeds begin to pop. Add 1 cup of water and the remaining ingredients (other than the dal). bring to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes are softened, 6-8 minutes. Add the dal paste and the remaining cup of water and stir to incorporate. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, and season with salt before serving with chopped coriander leaves.