Clean and soak black Bengal gram in water overnight. The next day, boil it in salt water until it is 90% cooked.
Heat some oil in a pan, and sauté the grated coconut, shallots, red chillies, curry leaves, ginger and garlic. When the coconut turns a light brown, switch off the flame and leave it to cool. Grind the mix to a coarse paste.
In a sauce pan, heat some oil and add the mustard seeds, sliced onions, tomatoes, and saute till the onions turn translucent. Add turmeric powder, coriander powder, chilli powder, salt and curry leaves and stir for a few minutes.
Add the coconut paste and mix well. Add water and the boiled Bengal gram and stir. Let it simmer till the gravy reduces and thickens.
Check seasoning and garnish with a pinch of garam masala powder. Serve with chapatti, idiyappam or appams.
By Ria Samuel