For 4 Person(s)
Put the beans in a large heavy-bottomed pan with a lid and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil for 10 minutes then drain, rinse and return to the pan. This time cover with about 2 litres of cold water, bring back to the boil and add the garlic, ginger, turmeric and chopped chillies with a pinch of salt. Turn down the heat and put the lid on – leaving space for steam to escape.
Simmer the dal very gently, stirring occasionally and checking that it isn’t sticking – add a little more water if required. After 30 to 40 minutes the beans will have broken down and become creamy.
Now either add a little boiling water or reduce the dal further to achieve your preferred consistency. Season to taste – be quite bold with the salt and perhaps try a little sugar. Stir in the two whole chillies and simmer for a further 15 minutes.
Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the shallots. Stir until golden and beginning to crisp, but don’t allow to burn. Add the dried spices and cook for a couple of minutes until the mustard seeds are popping.
Stir the spices and shallots (the tarka) and half the chopped coriander into the dal. Garnish with the remaining chopped coriander.