For the filling

  • 100g split Bengal gram (chana dal)
  • 125g jaggery or light muscovado sugar
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • ¼ tsp grated nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground cardamom

For the dough


  • STEP 1

    For the filling: wash the lentils and cover with cold water in a bowl. Leave them to soak overnight.

  • STEP 2

    Discard the soaking water, put the lentils in a pressure cooker, and pour over water to cover them by about 3cm. Cook the dal for 20-30 minutes, until completely soft. Alternatively, cook them in a medium pan for about 1 - 1½ hours until tender. You’ll need to add extra water to prevent the lentils catching.

  • STEP 3

    Drain any cooking water and leave the lentils to cool. Tip the dal into a food processor and grind it to a paste.

  • STEP 4

    Transfer the paste to a heavy-bottomed frying pan and add the sugar, fennel seeds, nutmeg and ground cardamom. Cook over a medium heat for 5-7 minutes, stirring all the time, until the paste has thickened. Leave on one side to cool.

  • STEP 5

    For the dough: sieve the flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Using your fingertips, roughly incorporate the melted ghee into the flour and then add the saffron and its soaking water followed by enough cold water (about 100-125ml) to make a soft but not sticky dough. Knead the dough in the bowl until smooth and then cover it and leave on one side at room temperature for 30 minutes.

  • STEP 6

    Knead the rested dough for one minute and divide it into 9 x 40g portions. Using your hands, shape each one into a 4cm diameter ball.

  • STEP 7

    Shape the lentil paste into slightly smaller 3cm balls in the same way.

  • STEP 8

    Using your fingers, make an indentation in the middle of one of the dough balls, and press it into a bowl-like shape. Put one of the lentil balls in the cavity and pull the dough around it, pinching the edges together so that the lentil ball is completely enclosed.

  • STEP 9

    Flatten the ball to a 2cm thickness disc and roll it out on a lightly oiled surface to a 17cm diameter circle. Aim for the thickness of a £1 coin.

  • STEP 10

    Heat a griddle or heavy frying pan over a medium heat and carefully lift the bread onto the griddle. Drizzle 1 tsp of melted ghee around the edges and cook on one side for 2-3 minutes until it starts to colour.

  • STEP 11

    Using a fish slice, flip the bread over and spoon another 1-2 tsp melted ghee around the edges and cook until golden for a further 2-3 minutes. Repeat this process with the remaining dough balls. Serve straight away with a glass of chilled milk or masala chai.


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