Discard the water and grind to a fine paste the chana dal with green chilli, turmeric, hing and salt.
Heat oil in a thick kadhai/wok and add the mustard seeds once they splutter add the dal mixture and stir it well.
Sauté the mixture stirring it at frequent intervals.
Take care the mixture should not stick to the bottom.
As the dal starts drying out add the coconut, if using, and sauté on medium heat.
Your watli dal is done when the mixture dries out and each grain is separate. Like my friend said the consistency of course sand.
Serve garnished with coriander leaves and freshly grated coconut. I like some lime with mine.
Avoid the temptation of raising the heat all throughout the process of cooking.
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