First, just prep some lentils. Boil them as usual, not adding spices. They'll keep for days; don't worry. Just pull them when they're done and it's all good. This is where I'd prefer red lentils, but those can be somewhat hard to come by, so do as you can and will. The standard green/french worked just fine.
Second, prep some chicken. Thaw whatever you have and make it ready for marinating. Breasts worked fine here.
In a cast iron skillet, heat some oil. Neutral is better but olive works.
Add to the hot oil, in this order:
- Palmfull of cumin seads
- Half that whole coriander
- Garlic, if desired
- Brown mustard seeds; if not available sub in yellow
- Whole black or white peppercorn
- Mustard seeds; have a lid ready to cover as they pop like crazy
Drop that all in a bit of yogurt, combine in a ziploc back with chicken, let sit overnight.
Third, add a small amount of oil to a small sauce pan. Toast about three cloves and a cinnamon stick along with the innards of three or four cardamom pods. Additional cumin sead wouldn't hurt here either.
When that has been toasted, add your lentils and one can of chana dal (chickpeas; whatever) drained and one can undrained. Simmer that down after adding turmeric (to taste, but be generous) and salt (again, don't be stingy).
While that is simmering down, start grilling your chicken. Take it to medium-well at least; the yogurt will have softened it enough that it shouldn't be tough nomatter how much you overcook it.
Spoon 3/4 of your bean mixture into a blender and puree it; add it back to the pan.
Slice the chicken on bias. Serve with a flatbread and some greens and you have a great meal.