Mince and chana dal (split peas) cooked in a rich tomato sauce and whole dried lime, split in two is a very popular dish in Iran. Dried lime can be bought at Middle Eastern or Asian stores or online, click here. I have successfully added aubergines to this dish as aubergines go very well with soya mince and tomatoes. Served with plain boiled rice or flat bread this makes a very satisfying and healthy meal to serve to the family!
I tend to add a pinch of baking soda when cooking any tough legume or bean as this hastens the cooking time – a trick I learnt from my dear Laxmi, who was a loving and gentle second mother to me and my family.
Half cup chana dal, preferably soaked for an hour but not absolutely essential
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 large aubergine, cut into large cubes
1 cup frozen soya mince (you could use dried soya mince too, click here to buy online)
1 medium onion, sliced
3 tablespoons oil
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 inch piece ginger, finely chopped
1 level teaspoon turmeric
3-4 tomatoes, chopped (or 1 tin of tomatoes)
½ teaspoon salt
1 dried lime, split in two (optional, click here to buy online)
- Rinse and cook chana dal with a quarter teaspoon of baking powder – baking powder will expedite the cooking process! Be careful you don’t overcook the chana dal and keep it whole, strain and set aside
- Fry onions in oil until golden
- Add tomatoes, turmeric, garlic, ginger and salt
- Cover and cook on low with a small splash of water until tomatoes are softened, about 20-25 minutes
- Add aubergine, soya mince, cooked chana dal and dried lime. Add a cup of water, cover and cook on low heat for a further 20 minutes until the stew is thick and aubergines cooked
- Serve with boiled rice or flat bread – why not try this Maneesh I made the other day!