Chefs' Recipes

Emma McCaskill's chickpea dhal with papadums

Warm spices, nutty chickpeas and the crunch of homemade papadums – nothing beats it.

By Emma McCaskill
  • 40 mins preparation
  • 1 hr 20 mins cooking (plus soaking)
  • Serves 4
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"The chickpeas we use are single-origin, traceable, non-GM and grown by the Schilling family in the Yorke Peninsula, South Australia," says McCaskill. "They release valuable nitrogen into the soil for future crops. The red lentils come from the same range in Wimmera, Victoria." Start this recipe one day ahead to soak the chickpeas.


  • 50 gm unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 5 gm ginger (about 1cm), peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 long red chilli, thinly sliced into rounds
  • 10 fresh curry leaves, plus extra fried leaves to serve
  • 1 tbsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 200 gm chickpeas, soaked in cold water overnight
  • 200 gm red lentils, rinsed until water runs clear
  • 1.2 litres masterstock, chicken stock, or vegetable stock
  • Steamed basmati rice, (optional) to serve
  • 125 gm black gram flour (see note)
  • ¼ tsp nigella seeds
  • Vegetable oil, for rolling and deep-frying


  • 1
    Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat, then add onion, garlic and ginger, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent (5 minutes). Add chilli, curry leaves and spices and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant (4-6 minutes).
  • 2
    Drain chickpeas and add to a saucepan with lentils. Cover with stock and bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until chickpeas are tender or the consistency of porridge (45-50 minutes). If needed, remove lid and simmer for a further 10-15 minutes or until desired consistency.
  • 3
    Meanwhile, for papadums, combine flour, nigella seeds, 50ml warm water and ¼ tsp salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Combine by hand until starting to come together, adding 1 tsp extra water if needed, then mix on low speed until a smooth dough forms (5-6 minutes). Transfer to a lightly oiled surface, and turn dough over to coat the other side with oil. Roll out with a rolling pin until about ½ cm thick, then feed dough through a pasta machine, starting with the widest setting, reducing settings notch by notch, until the thinnest or second thinnest setting and dough is 1mm-2mm thick.
  • 4
    Heat oil to 180C in a large frying pan over medium heat. Carefully add papadums and deep-fry, in batches, turning once, until starting to turn light golden (30-40 seconds; be careful, hot oil may spit). Remove using tongs or a skimmer, drain on paper towel and season to taste. Repeat with remaining papadums. Papadums are best served the same day, but will keep in an airtight container for 2 days.
  • 5
    Season dhal to taste and top with fried curry leaves. Serve with papadums and rice.


Note: Black gram flour, also known as urad or urad flour, is available from select Indian supermarkets. If unavailable, substitute chickpea flour. Drink suggestion: Ginger beer. Drink suggestion by Rose Kentish.