If you cook this daal well and season it with love, it’ll be delicious, incredibly economical, and sociable, fun eating. Our tasty friend Mr Daal does have the tendency to be quite ugly, but I think, rolled up in these handmade chapatis with fluffy rice, roasted aubergine, crispy curry leaves and chilli, then presented to one’s gob – it’s a beautiful experience. So I say, no more ugly daal, dress it up, baby, because it’s all about the confidence!
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Cut the aubergine into 2cm chunks, peel and slice the onions and garlic, peel and finely grate the ginger. Put all this into a large high-sided roasting tray with the curry paste and a lug of groundnut oil. Toss together until well coated, then roast for 20 to 25 minutes, or until sticky and caramelized. Remove half the roasted veg to a large pan to start your daal and return the tray to the oven to keep warm – turn the oven off so that the veg don’t dry out. Place the pan on a low heat on the hob. Stir in the split peas, crumble in the stock cube and add 2 litres of boiling water. Simmer for around 1 hour 20 minutes with the lid on, or until the split peas are tender and the daal has thickened, stirring occasionally, and adding splashes of water to loosen, if needed.
Meanwhile, place the flour in a large bowl with a pinch of salt and make a well in the middle. Add the olive oil and 150ml of water to the well and mix together with a fork. When it comes together as dough, tip it on to a flour- dusted surface, knead until smooth, then divide into 12 balls. Roll each one into a circle, nice and thin, turning as you go and dusting with a little extra flour, if needed. Put a frying pan on a medium heat and cook the chapatis for 1 minute on each side, or until cooked but not coloured. Stack them in tin foil as you go and keep them warm until needed.
Put 1 mug of rice and 2 mugs of boiling water into a pan with a pinch of salt. Cook on a medium heat with the lid on for 12 minutes, or until all the liquid has been absorbed. Meanwhile, to make the flavoured oil (called a temper), finely slice the chilli and place it in a small frying pan on a medium heat with the curry leaves, mustard seeds and a good lug of groundnut oil for 1 to 2 minutes, or until crispy. Load up your warm chapatis with rice, daal and a scattering of roasted veggies, drizzle over the temper, roll up and tuck in.