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.

Serves 4
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.


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