Chana dal has become a favourite go-to dish of mine, even before I made the change to go vegan. Preeti Sinha over at Veg Recipes of India made it so simple with her step-by-step recipe which I’ve been known to eat for dinner alongside a serving of rice, naan bread or side salad, or rolled up in a wrap or between flatbread and toasted on a sandwich press for a warming lunch. In my vegetarian days, I’d be seen dolloping some Greek yoghurt and fresh coriander on top too. A truly versatile, delightfully tasty dish.
For pressure cooking the chana dal:
- ¾ cup chana dal
- 2.5 to 3 cups water
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
For tempering the chana dal:
- 2 medium sized tomatoes
- ½ cup finely chopped onions
- 1 inch ginger
- 4 to 5 garlic
- 1 green chili
- ¾ teaspoon cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon red chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon garam masala powder
- ½ teaspoon dry mango powder
- 1 teaspoon kasoori methi (or dried fenugreek leaves)
- a pinch of asafoetida
- 2 tablespoon oil or ghee
- salt as required
- a few coriander leaves (cilantro) for mixing towards the end or garnishing
- Pick and rinse the chana dal well in running water. soak the dal in enough water for an hour.
- Drain the lentils and add them to the pressure cooker along with turmeric powder. add 2.5 to 3 cups water and stir well.
- On a high flame, pressure cook the lentils for 7 to 8 whistles or more, till the dal is softened and well cooked. keep the cooked chana dal aside.
- In another pan, heat oil or ghee.
- Add the cumin first and fry for a few seconds till they splutter.
- Add the garlic and fry till they become light brown.
- Add the onions and fry till they get golden.
- Add the tomatoes, ginger and green chili.
- Stir and add all the dry spice powders turmeric powder, red chili powder, garam masala powder, asafoetida, dry mango powder and coriander powder.
- Saute till the tomatoes get cooked and the oil starts to leave the side of the mixture.
- Add the kasoori methi and stir.
- Pour the cooked chana dal along with its stock to the sauteed masala mixture or vice versa.
- Season with salt.
- Stir and simmer the dal for 6-8 minutes till you get medium consistency of the dal, neither thick nor thin.
- Garnish chana dal with chopped coriander leaves.
- Serve the chana dal hot with some basmati rice, rotis or bread.
- The consistency of the chana dal can be easily adjusted. If the dal becomes thick, then after adding the sauteed masala tempering mixture, add some water and simmer for a few minutes. If the dal become thin, simmer for a longer time so that you get the right consistency.
- To make the chana dal gluten free, omit adding the asafoetida/hing.
- For cooking the chana dal in a pot, first soak the lentils for an hour. Then pour 4 cups of water along with the drained lentils into a pot. Add turmeric powder. Cover and cook the lentils for 45 minutes to 1 hour, till they are softened. Add more water if required. If the mixure froths, then cook uncovered initially and then later cover and cook. A few drops of oil can also be added to reduce the frothing.
Makes: 4 | Prep: 15-135mins | Cooks: 15mins