My childhood friend Sujana, who lives in Kolkata, cooked this luchi for me when I visited her. It is a beautiful combination of fried flatbreads and lentils cooked with coconut. In Kolkata, the luchi are fried fresh and served piping hot.
Tomato and Date Chutney, to serve
For the dal
400g (14oz) split chickpeas (chana dal)
1.2 litres (2 pints) water
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon sunflower or vegetable oil
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
6 tablespoons freshly grated or desiccated coconut, plus extra to garnish For the luchi
400g (14oz) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
about 150ml (¼ pint) warm water
sunflower oil, for deep-frying
For the dal, put the split chickpeas, measured water, salt and turmeric into a deep saucepan and simmer for about 1 hour, until the split chickpeas are fully cooked.
Meanwhile, start making the luchi. Put the flour into a bowl and gradually add just enough (or a little more, if necessary) of the measured warm water to form a soft dough. Knead the dough on a floured surface for 2 minutes, then put the dough into a bowl, cover it with a tea towel and leave it to rest for at least 15 minutes.
When the split chickpeas are cooked, heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the cinnamon stick, bay leaf, chilli powder and the cumin and mustard seeds and cook for 1 minute, until the spices begin to sizzle. Stir in the coconut and cook for 1 minute, then tip in the cooked chickpeas. Mix well and bring to a boil. Keep the dal warm over low heat until ready to serve.
Heat enough oil for deep-frying in a deep-fat fryer or large saucepan (ensuring the pan is no more than one-third full) to 180°C (350°F). Line a plate with some kitchen paper.
Divide the dough into pieces the size of a small lime. Roll them out on a lightly floured surface into 8-cm (3¼-inch) circles. Fry the dough circles, 1 at a time, over medium heat for 2 minutes, turning once, until light golden. Transfer the cooked luchi to the paper-lined plate to drain excess oil.
Garnish the dal with extra coconut and serve with the hot flatbreads and the Tomato and Date Chutney.