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Roti with chana dhal

We’ve made this curry to have as a dipping sauce with roti, but it could also be served as a meal with rice. Start this recipe a day ahead to make the roti.

By Lisa Featherby
  • 40 mins preparation
  • 1 hr 15 mins cooking plus resting
  • Serves 6 - 8
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Roti with chana dhal
We've made this curry to have as a dipping sauce with roti, but it could also be served as a meal with rice. Start this recipe a day ahead to make the roti.


  • 500 gm (3 cups) plain flour
  • 300 gm coconut oil, melted and cooled to room temperature
  • 2 tbsp softened butter
  • To serve: small green chillies (optional; see note)
Chana dhal
  • 3 tsp each cumin and coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 3 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 35 gm ginger, finely pounded with a mortar and pestle
  • 1 garlic clove, finely pounded with a mortar and pestle
  • 3 vine-ripened tomatoes, coarsely chopped and puréed in a blender
  • 600 ml coconut milk
  • 250 gm split chickpeas or yellow split peas, rinsed well
  • 3-4 small green chillies, finely chopped
  • 4 fresh curry leaves, plus extra to serve
  • To taste: lime juice


  • 1
    For the roti, combine flour, 300ml water and 3 tsp salt in a bowl and knead to form a soft dough, then turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Divide dough into 10 balls and place in a single snug layer in a lightly greased baking dish or plastic container. Pour coconut oil over, dot with butter and rest covered in a cool place overnight.
  • 2
    For chana dhal, dry-roast whole spices until fragrant (10-20 seconds). Cool briefly, then pound with a mortar and pestle until finely ground and stir in garam masala and turmeric. Heat ghee in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until very tender and starting to caramelise (10-12 minutes). Add ginger, garlic and pounded spice mix, and stir until fragrant (20-30 seconds). Add puréed tomato, coconut milk, split chickpeas or peas, chillies and curry leaves, bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until split peas start to break down and dhal is thick (1-1½ hours). Season to taste with lime juice and salt.
  • 3
    Preheat oven to 90C or lowest setting. Working with a ball of dough at a time, press into a flat 20cm disc, then stretch dough as thin as you can get by pulling it out very gently with your hands until it's quite transparent (about 37cm diameter). Fold one side over a third, trapping air as you go, then repeat with the other side. Fold ends up in the same way to give you a large rough square
    of even layers. Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat, add roti in batches and fry, turning once, until golden and crisp (1-2 minutes each side). Keep warm in oven while you cook the rest. Serve roti warm with warm chana dhal scattered with curry leaves and chillies to the side.


Note Serve small green chillies either whole or coarsely chopped alongside curry for extra heat.
Drink Suggestion: Cloudy farmhouse scrumpy. Drink suggestion by Max Allen