04 Jun 2020

Emma’s delicious Chickpea Dhal with homemade Papadums

Head chef at the Sparkke at the Whitemore, Emma McCaskill, has been eating and cooking Chickpea Dhal with homemade Papadums her whole life and now she’s shared the special recipe with us in this Chefs at Home episode. 

The chickpeas we use are single origin, traceable, non-GM, and grown by the Schilling family on the Yorke Peninsula, South Australia. They release valuable nitrogen into the soil for future crops. These chickpeas are also the product of a dear friend, Simon Bryant. The red lentils come from the Wimmera, in Victoria. Start one day ahead to soak the chickpeas.


Chickpea Dhal

1 large brown onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
5gm ginger, peeled and finely diced
1 long red chilli, finely sliced in rounds
10 fresh curry leaves
1tbsp ground turmeric
1tsp ground cumin
1tsp ground coriander
200gm chickpeas, soaked in cold water overnight
200gm red lentils, washed until water runs clear
1.2litres chicken master stock


125 gm black gram flour (see note)
¼ tsp nigella seeds
Vegetable oil for rolling and frying

Note: black gram flour (urad or urud flour) available from selected Indian supermarkets. If unavailable, use besan flour.


1. For the dhal, melt the butter in a saucepan and sautee the onion, garlic and ginger for 5 minutes or until the onion is translucent. Add the chilli, curry leaves, turmeric, cumin and ground coriander and cook for around 4 to 6 minutes until spices are fragrant.

2. Drain chickpea water, place chickpeas and lentils in a saucepan and cover with master stock. Bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook gently, stirring occasionally for 45-50 minutes, or until chickpeas are tender and the consistency of porridge – thicker than soup and looser than labneh. If needed, remove lid and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until desired consistency.

3. Meanwhile, for papadums, combine flour and nigella, 50ml warm water and ¼ tsp salt flakes in the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with a dough hook. Combine by hand until starting to come together, adding 1 tsp extra water if needed, then mix on low speed for 5-6 minutes until a smooth dough forms. Transfer to a lightly oiled bench, turn dough over to coat the other side with oil. Roll out with a rolling pin until about ½ cm thick, then roll through a pasta machine, starting on the thickest setting, gradually reducing thickness, until thinnest or second thinnest setting. Cut into 5cm squares or desired shape. I like squares as you don’t have any waste.

5. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat until 180C. Carefully slip in a few (about 4) squares of papadum (be careful, hot oil may spit). Fry for 30-40 seconds until starting to turn light golden, turning over half way through. Using tongs or a skimmer, remove from hot oil, shake off excess, drain on paper towel and season to taste. Repeat for remaining papadums. Store in an airtight container.

6. Season dhal to taste, serve with papadums and carrot top relish, or with a side of steamed basmati rice and greens.