Preparation / Directions:
Put the dal in a heavy pot along with 5 cups water. Bring to a boil and remove any surface scum. Add the turmeric and ginger. Cover, leaving the lid just very slightly ajar, turn heat to low, and simmer gently for 1 1/2 hours or until the dal is tender. Stir every 5 minutes or so during the last half hour of cooking to prevent sticking. Remove ginger slices. Add the salt and garam masala to the dal. Stir to mix.
Heat the ghee in a small frying pan over a medium flame. When hot, put in the cumin seeds. A couple of seconds later, put in the garlic. Stir and fry until the garlic pieces are lightly browned. Put the chile powder into the pan. Immediately lift the pan off the heat and pour its entire contents - ghee and spices - into the pot with the dal. Stir to mix.
Serves 4 to 6.
Of all the dals, this one perhaps has the 'meatiest' taste. At its best, it also has a gentle sweetness. Chana dal is sold only by Indian grocers. If you cannot find it, substitute yellow split peas. You could serve this dal with rice, 'Chicken with Tomatoes', and 'Cauliflower and potat