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Heat the ghee or groundnut oil and fry the onion over a medium heat until it’s pale gold and soft. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another couple of mins. Stir in all the spices and cook for another minute or so, then add all the remaining ingredients and 450ml water. Bring to just below boiling point, turn the heat down and simmer for about 40 mins until the split peas are soft. If you like your dhal thick in texture, mash the chickpeas to break them down. If the mixture is getting dry, add more water. If it’s too thin, keep cooking until you get the thickness you want. There is no ‘right’ consistency; dhal can be almost brothy or like a thick purée.
To serve, heat the ghee or butter in a pan and add the shallots. Fry until they’re golden, then add the cumin seeds, black mustard seeds and chilli flakes. Cook until their aromas are released. Scatter coriander on top of the dhal, then pour over the spiced butter.