9oz red lentils
1 pt water
8 oz onions
8 oz tomatoes
6 oz ghee or clarified butter
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbs. turmeric powder
1 tsp. chili powder
5 fl oz coconut milk (For coconut milk take 2 cup grated coconut, add 1 1/4 cup of hot water in it. Blend for a few seconds. Take a small piece of clean cloth. Place it over a bowl. Empty the contents of blender onto that cloth. Squeeze out all the liquid, which can be used as a substitute for coconut milk).
½ oz black mustard seeds
1" fresh root ginger, finely chopped
2 green chilies, seeded and finely chopped
a pinch of asafetida (optional)
3 tbsps. roughly chopped coriander
salt to taste
1 tsp. salt
juice of 1 lemon
4x 6-8 oz skinned pomfret or sea bass fillets
3 tbsps. vegetable oil
Cover the lentils with water and leave them to soak. Coarsely chop half the onions and finely chop the rest. Cut half the tomatoes into small chunks and finely dice the rest.
Heat half the ghee or clarified butter in a heavy based pan. Fry the garlic, coarsely chopped onions and tomato chunks for five minutes until the mixture has cooked to a golden brown paste.
Add the lentils and their soaking water and bring to the boil. Add the turmeric, chili powder and coconut milk and simmer until the lentils have broken down and the mixture has thickened (about 30 minutes). Season to taste with salt and remove from the heat.
To finish the dal heat the rest of the ghee or clarified butter in a large deep-frying pan. Add the mustard seeds, cover the pan with a lid and fry until the seeds begin to pop. Add ginger, remaining onions and tomatoes, green chilies and asafetida, if using. Cook for 5 minutes then pour everything into the lentil mixture and stir well. Keep warm.
Mix the salt, lemon juice and turmeric together and rub well into the fish fillets.
Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan; add the fillets and fry for 2-3 minutes on each side.
Stir the coriander into the dal and serve with the fish and salad or raita.