This recipe is a combination of my mom's and mom-in-law's. After a few trial and error episodes, I have arrived at the right combination that my family loves!!!
I love curry leaves and, I end up adding a generous heap, but it is optional. Curry leaves can be saved for a long time by separating the leaves from the stems, washing them, patting dry and then microwaving on a paper towel for about 1 to 2 minutes (microwave times vary). Cool and store in zip-top bag in a dry place.
I use 2 kinds of red chillies. One for spiciness (Thai or Tezpuri red chillies) and other for aroma and colour (Kashmiri or mild Mexican red chillies)
Urad Dal - 1 cup
Channa Dal - 1 cup
Thai red chillies - about 30 numbers or to taste
Mild chillies - about 10 - 15 numbers
Dried curry leaves - to taste (optional)
whole black pepper - 1 tsp
salt - 1 1/4 tsp or to taste
Dry roast the ingredients separately on medium-low heat until slightly brown. Roasting the red chillies with salt tends to reduce the intensity of the fumes. When roasting dal, do not over-crowd the pan. Roast in batches, if required. Allow to cool. Grind in a blender / Dry grind attachment to a coarse powder. Mix with sesame oil (gingely oil) when needed and enjoy with idly / dosa. This can be mixed with yogurt and eaten as dip for Chappati and parata.