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Chaya’s dal pita with grilled tomato salsa

Main Veganisable
Serves 6
Prep 20 min
Cook 1 hr 30 min
Featured in
OTK Extra Good Things cookbook

Across parts of Asia, ‘pitha’ refers to a dough. In Mauritius, where this recipe originates (thanks, Chaya!), the ‘h’ is dropped to make it ‘pita’. Traditionally, the dough for the noodles is freshly made while the dal is cooking. For ease, we use dried lasagne sheets, which work really well as a substitute.


200g chana dal
200g yellow split peas
100ml olive oil
2 onions, peeled and finely chopped (300g)
6 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced (20g)
5g thyme sprigs
5g picked curry leaves
2 hot dried chillies
11⁄2 tsp black mustard seeds
11⁄2 tbsp cumin seeds
11⁄2 tsp ground turmeric
3 liters boiling water
200g dried lasagne sheets, roughly broken
salt and black pepper
900g ripe vine tomatoes, (about 6–8 large tomatoes)
100g banana shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 red chillies, thinly sliced into rounds (20g)
3 tbsp lemon juice
50ml olive oil
30g fresh coriander, roughly chopped


  1. Wash the chana dal and the split peas together under cold running water until the water runs clear. Transfer to a large bowl, cover with plenty of boiling water and soak for 20 minutes. Drain well and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, put the oil into a very large, high-sided saucepan and place on a medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, thyme, curry leaves and dried chillies. Fry gently for 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until lightly golden. Add the mustard seeds, cumin and turmeric and fry for another minute. Stir in the chana dal and split peas, then add 2.5 litres of boiling water and 1 tablespoon of salt. If your pan isn’t big enough to hold all the water, keep some back and add it later, once some of the water has been absorbed.
  3. Cook on a medium-high heat for an hour – the dal should be rapidly simmering – stirring often and skimming any scum off the top with a slotted spoon.
  4. For the grilled tomato salsa, heat a griddle pan on a high heat. Add the tomatoes and char for 20 minutes, turning throughout, until the skin is blackened and blistered all over. Set aside to cool.
  5. Meanwhile, put the shallots into a medium bowl with the garlic, chillies, lemon juice and 11⁄2 teaspoons of salt. Using your fingers, mix the ingredients together, crushing the shallots lightly.
  6. Peel and discard the tomato skins, then roughly chop the flesh. Add to the shallot bowl along with the oil, a good grind of pepper and the coriander. Mix well and transfer to a serving bowl.
  7. Using a potato masher (or a whisk), lightly crush the dal mixture, taking care not to mash it completely. Add 500ml of boiling water to the pan, then add the broken lasagne sheets and cook for another 15 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent the lasagne sheets from sticking together.
  8. Divide the dal pita between six bowls and top each with a spoonful of the salsa, serving any extra alongside.