Sooji is a grainy Indian semolina; there is no substitute. Chana dal is a relative of the chickpea and urad dal is a black lentil; both of these are popular in Indian cuisine and may be found at specialty markets.
8 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 cups sooji
1 tsp. chana dal
1 tsp. urad dal
1 tsp. brown mustard seeds
4 raw cashews, split
1–3 fresh hot green chiles, halved lengthwise
10–12 curry leaves (optional)
8 shallots, peeled and sliced
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into 1" × 1⁄4" sticks
1⁄4 lb. french beans, trimmed and cut into 1" segments
2 tsp. salt
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1⁄2 tsp. ground turmeric
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1–2 tbsp. ghee or butter
1. Heat 4 tbsp. of the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add sooji and fry gently, stirring constantly, until golden. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
2. Clean and dry pan. Heat remaining 4 tbsp. oil in it over medium-high heat. Add dals, mustard seeds, cashews, chiles, and curry leaves (if using). Stir until dals begin to turn red. Add shallots; stir and fry until softened. Add carrots, beans, 1⁄2 tsp. of the salt, and 1 1⁄4 cups water. Cover, raise heat, and boil until vegetables are just tender, 5–7 minutes.
3. Stir in tomatoes, turmeric, 3 cups water, remaining 1 1⁄2 tsp. salt, and sooji. Cook, breaking up any lumps, over medium heat until sooji is done, 8–10 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and ghee.