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Daal Pakwaan - Sindhi Lentil Curry with Crispy Fried Bread

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A hot favorite in any Sindhi home, Daal Pakwaan is easy to cook and makes for a wholesome, tasty meal. The key to good Daal Pakwaan is to make the daal thick and creamy and the Pakwaan crisp. Don't be intimidated by the number of ingredients. Remember this dish is made up of 2 items, hence the ingredients reflect that fact. This recipe serves 4.

Ingredients:

  • For the Daal: 250 gms/ 1/2 lb Chana Daal (Split Bengal Gram) - see link below for picture
  • 3 tbsps vegetable/ canola/ sunflower cooking oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 onions chopped fine
  • 2 green chillies chopped very fine
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder (optional)
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder (see link below for recipe to make your own)
  • 1/4 tsp hing/ asafetida powder
  • 3 large tomatoes chopped fine
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsps ghee/ clarified butter (see link below for recipe to make your own)
  • For the Pakwaan: 1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1- 1/2 cups wholemeal flour (atta)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp ajwain/ carom seeds
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Vegetable/ canola/ sunflower cooking oil for deep frying the Pakwaans

Preparation:

To make the Daal:
  • Thoroughly wash the chana daal and keep aside.
  • Heat the oil in a deep, thick-bottomed pan on medium heat. Add the cooking oil and heat. Now add the cumin seeds and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add the onions and fry till soft. Add the green chillies, garlic and ginger pastes and fry for another minute.
  • Add all the dry powdered spices (garam masala included) and chopped tomatoes, stir well and fry till the oil begins to separate from the masala. Stir often to prevent burning.
  • Add the washed chana daal and stir well. Add 4 cups of water and cook till the chana daal is soft. The resulting Daal should ideally be of similar consistency to a thick soup, so add more water if required.
  • When cooked, use a whisk to blend the Daal into a smooth, creamy consistency. Add salt to taste and mix well.
  • In a separate small pan, heat the ghee till very hot and add to the cooked daal. Keep aside.

To make the Pakwaans:

  • Put the all purpose and wholemeal flour, cumin seeds, ajwain and salt into a large mixing bowl and blend.
  • Make a well in the center and add 1/2 cup of water. Use your fingers or a wooden paddle to mix into a dough. Add more water, a little at a time, so as to assimilate all the flour to form a dough.
  • Knead the dough till smooth and medium soft. Allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  • Divide the dough into several equal sized (as big as a large marble) balls.
  • Heat the oil for deep frying on medium heat.
  • Flour a work surface or rolling board lightly, press one ball into a disc shape and place on it. Use a rolling pin to roll the ball out into a flatbread about 4" wide. Poke the flatbread all over its surface with a fork - this will prevent it from puffing out when fried and will ensure it is crispy. Roll all out dough balls similarly and keep aside for frying.
  • When the oil is hot, put one rolled out Pakwaan in it at a time and fry till both sides are golden, flipping over gently as necessary with a slotted spoon. When fried, drain on paper towels.

Serve Daal and Pakwaan together. Traditionally the Pakwaan is dipped in the Daal and eaten.

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