Maybe it’s because it’s in my bloodline― my great grandfather was from Bombay, India before he migrated to Jamaica―or maybe it’s because I just love Indian food and for no actual reason.
When I was younger, as much I was around Jamaican Indians, I never got to enjoy authentic Indian cooking. But with me being me and always being willing to try something new, I decided that I must eat all the Indian food that I come in contact with.
Which brings me to the recipe that I’m sharing with you today, Chana dal. I was curious and wanted to know how to make chana dal so I could cook it for dinner one day.
So what is Chana Dal?
Chana Dal also called Bengal gram or split chickpeas, are sweet and nutty lentils that have had their outer covering removed and have been split. It’s a great source of protein and is also high in fiber. It’s very common to find chana dal in Indian recipes because Indian food is mostly vegetarian cuisine.
How to prepare Chana Dal
When preparing these lentils, the same rules you follow while preparing beans still apply. Always soak your lentils and beans before cooking. For more in-depth instructions on how to properly prepare beans, click here.
You can cook chana dal with or without a pressure cooker, the recipe that I’ve included below does not require one.
There is a long prep time associated with this dish so make sure to plan ahead before you decide to cook this delicious meal.
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Here’s what you’ll need:
Chana Dal Recipe
Cook time: 45mins to 1 hour
1 cup chana dal (Bengal gram or split chickpeas)
6 cups of water
½ cup finely chopped onions
1-inch ginger, finely chopped
4 to 5 medium-sized garlic, finely chopped
1 green chili, chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp red chili powder
¼ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder
½ tsp garam masala powder
1 teaspoon dry fenugreek leaves
1 pinch Asafoetida (Hing)
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pinch of salt (add more if required)
2 stalks of Cilantro leaves
Getting the lentils ready
- Wash lentils and allow to soak in 3 cups water soak overnight
- Drain lentils and add to a large pot on medium heat with 3 cups of water.
- Bring to a boil, then let simmer for 20-30 minutes until the lentils have softened (Add additional water if the water level falls below the lentils).
- Cook uncovered to allow the liquid to evaporate – Do not overcook. They shouldn’t be too soft or mushy.
Making the Chana Dal fry
First, add cumin seeds to hot vegetable oil in a large pot, and fry for a few seconds till they splutter.
Add onions and garlic and fry until lightly golden.
Add ginger, chili, and remaining spices.
Add the cooked chana dal along with its stock and sauté mixture.
Simmer for 6-8 minutes until you get a medium consistency. It shouldn’t be too thick or too thin.
Garnish with chopped cilantro leaves
Add salt to taste
Serve with rice, roti, or bread.
See, that wasn’t so hard to make! All you need are the right ingredients and you’re already halfway there.
Let me know if you’ll try this recipe in the comment section.
Photo by Deval Mystery