Soak channa dal for 3 hrs. First grind chilli, fennel and salt.
Then add the drained chana and grind coarsely. Do in batches to ensure even grinding. Do not grind smoothly.
Grease idli plates and fill the moulds with the ground mixture, make a dent at the middle to ensure easy cooking. Steam cook for 10-15 minutes.
Once cooled, break it roughly. I forgot to add curry leaves before steaming, so added after breaking. Heat a pan with oil and temper with the items given under ‘To temper’ table in order.
Add finely chopped onion and fry till transparent. In goes ginger garlic paste and fry for a minute in medium flame. Add finely chopped tomatoes and all the powders – red chilli powder, dhaniya powder (coriander powder) and turmeric powder.Sprinkle required salt for the gravy.
Fry for a minute or until the masala blends and becomes mushy. Add 2-3 cups water depending on thick or thinner gravy you want.
Bring to boil and add the crumbled dal and simmer for 10 minutes.
Once the oil floats on top and the gravy becomes thicker. Add 2 tbsp coconut milk ( I added Store bought in the updated video) if adding and bring to boil again. garnish with chopped coriander and mint leaves.