Chana dal is a type of pulse, related to the chickpea. Chana dal has a very low glycaemic index so it makes a good addition to the diabetic diet. This recipe for ashak involves two hours of preparation, but you can lighten the workload by recruiting a few extra pairs of hands to help.






Skill level

Average: 2.9 (845 votes)



  • 1 kg plain flour, plus extra for kneading
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 500 ml (2 cups) water, approximately


  • 250 ml (1 cup) vegetable oil
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 1 kg beef mince
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 red capsicum, chopped
  • 400 g can diced tomatoes
  • 2 medium red chillies, chopped
  • 1 tbsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 250 ml (1 cup) boiling water
  • 1 cup chana dal, soaked, rinsed and cooked until tender


  • 1 kg gandana, leeks or chives, washed and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp margarine or soft butter
  • 1 bunch coriander, washed and chopped

Garlic yoghurt

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 kg natural yoghurt
  • 250 ml (1 cup) water
  • dried mint, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Chilling/freezing time 30 minutes

To make the dough, place the flour, salt and oil in a large bowl and gradually add the water until a firm dough forms. (You may not need all of the water.) Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 8–10 minutes, or until dough is smooth and elastic. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

To make the sauce, heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium–high heat. Cook the onion for 6–8 minutes, or until golden. Remove onion from pan, leaving as much oil in pan as possible. Add the mince and cook for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned and liquid is evaporated. Return onion to pan and add all remaining ingredients, except the boiling water and chana dal. Mix well and cook for 2 minutes. Add the boiling water. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer, topping up with extra water if necessary, for 30 minutes. Add the chana dal and stir through. Reheat just before serving.

To make the filling, combine all ingredients and refrigerate until needed.

Divide the dough into eight pieces and roll each into a ball on a lightly floured work surface. Working with one ball at a time, and keeping the others covered with a cloth to prevent drying out, roll balls into 20 cm circles, then cut in half. Using a pasta machine on the widest setting, roll out dough, lightly dusting with flour when necessary to prevent sticking. Reduce setting on machine and pass through dough again, repeating until dough is about 2 mm thick. Cut into 3 cm squares. Place 1 tsp of the gandana mixture in centre of a square. Moisten edges with a little water and press edges together to seal. Place on a tray lined with a tea towel. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.

To make the garlic yoghurt, use a mortar and pestle to pound the garlic and salt to form a smooth paste. Whisk together the yoghurt, garlic paste and water in a bowl until smooth. Set aside.

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Cook the ashak, in batches, for 3–4 minutes, or until they float to the surface and start to flip over. Drain well. 

Spread the garlic yoghurt onto a serving platter. Place ashak on top, then spoon over the meat sauce. Scatter generously with dried mint.