Chana Dal (Split Chickpea Curry)

North India has numerous and very tasty dals (lentil curries). This dal recipe is a very basic one that is prepared in homes across the country. It is easy to prepare and tastes excellent. Packed with proteins, this is a staple in homes whose main cereal is wheat made into Indian flat breads. But I like pairing it with rice too. It is fairly bland, though there are several healthy spices and other ingredients added to it. I am not normally a fan of this gravy – though I do consume this dal in several other dishes. But, once in a while, the dal is a welcome change in my kitchen. There are several variations to this basic preparation, including dhaba style (street food) preparations. Perhaps the experiments with the variations can be a later exercise. For now, it is this outstanding dal recipe!

Chana Dal

100 gms split chickpea (chana dal, kadalai parupu)
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 tsp ginger garlic paste
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder (haldi, manjal podi)
A pinch of asafoetida (hing, perunkayam)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds (sabut jeera, jeeragam)
2 green chilis, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 tsp garam masala powder
1 tsp coriander powder (dhania powder, kothamalli podi)
Salt to taste
1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves to garnish
Soak the lentil for at least 2 hours
Rinse, drain and transfer to a pressure cooker
Add salt and 1 cup of water
Cook on medium flame for about 6 whistles or till the lentil is done
Let the steam release naturally and open the lid
Set aside
Grind the tomatoes and green chilis to a thick paste
Set aside
Heat a wok and add cumin seeds
When they begin to splutter, add the onion
Sauté till the onion is translucent (sprinkle a little water if necessary
Add ginger garlic paste and the tomato paste
Mix well
Continue to cook for about 4 minutes
Add turmeric powder, chili powder, coriander powder, garam masala and asafoetida
Adjust salt
Add the cooked lentil
Cook for about 5 minutes till all the ingredients are well blended and the dal is creamy
Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with coriander leaves
Serve hot with Indian flat breads or red/brown rice

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Vibha says:

    What if one used boiled mashed potatoes in place of starch. And would buckwheat flour work for a gf version?


    1. You can use potatoes too, though I have not tried it that way. Buckwheat should also work. Since I have tried neither, cannot be sure. Please go ahead and try.


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