Tuesday, August 4, 2015


Chana dal is baby chickpeas that has been split and polished. It looks and tastes like small kernels of sweet corn, and is one of the most popular ingredients in Indian cuisine.

Chana dal is delicious, nutritious and easily digested.


Continuing with my love for Parsi cuisine, here is another yummy recipe that mom used to make often when we were kids and this dal was liked by one and all!

Chana dal is a helpful source of zinc, folate, calcium and protein. This combination is ideal for my son, who is on the borderline of being anemic! This is the perfect dish to boost his levels and tastes delicious!

1 cup raw chana dal (split Bengal Gram)
2 small onions (thinly sliced)
2 tomatoes (finely chopped)
3 green chilies (finely chopped)
Fresh curry leaves

1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp turmeric powder
½  tsp red chilli powder
2 tsp coriander powder
½ tsp dhansak masala (or garam masala)
2 tsp garlic- ginger paste

2 tbsp clarified butter ( ghee)
500 ml water (for cooking)

Salt to taste

¼ cup finely chopped coriander for Garnish

Firstly, soak the chana dal for at least 6-8 hours prior to cooking in hot water with a pinch of salt. Soaking the dal makes it easier to cook without pressure, and also releases toxins from the dal into the water. Before cooking, drain the water and rinse the dal thoroughly (important). 

Soaked and drained Chana dal
Prep the ingredients and the spices to save time.

In a deep thick bottomed pan, heat the ghee/cooking oil.

Add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds.  Allow to sputter.

Add the green chilies and the fresh curry leaves. Fry till they sputter.

Add the ginger- garlic paste.

Now, add the chopped onions and mix well.

Fry the onions on low flame till they are brownish in colour.

Next, add the tomatoes. Let the mixture cook till the tomatoes have softened.

Now add the remaining spices and mix well.

Fry for around 3-4 minutes on low

Add the chana dal and mix well

Add water and salt, bring to a boil and reduce heat to low and simmer for 40 minutes, covered. 

The dal should be firm yet soft, and water should be reduced so dal mixture is thick. It is not recommended you eat raw dal, so if the dal is not quite there and still crunchy, add a bit more boiling water and cook for an extra 5-10 minutes. You can also pressure cook the dal. In that case, simply add the water and pressure cook for 2 whistles and about 10 minutes on slow.

Pressure cooker method

Stove-top cooking

Check the consistency of the dal. You can cook the dal uncovered if you want a thicker dal with less gravy.

Garnish with chopped coriander and serve hot !

I served chana dal with chapatis (indian flat bread) and ‘sarko-kando’ ~~ sliced onions with coriander and infused with white vinegar with a lemon wedge !
Enjoy  !