Discover the rich and aromatic flavours of my Chana Dal Recipe, a quintessential Indian vegetarian delicacy. This dish is not only a gastronomic delight, teeming with a medley of spices and vegetables but also a powerhouse of nutrition. The combination of chickpeas and Chana Dal ensures a protein-packed meal, making it an excellent choice for those seeking both taste and nourishment. Dive into this culinary journey and experience the authentic essence of Indian cuisine.
- Authentic: Discover true flavours of South Indian food!
- Healthy: Packed with healthy protein Vegan Curry Recipe.
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What is Chana Dal?
Chana Dal, also known as split chickpeas or Bengal gram, is a staple ingredient in Indian cuisine. Derived from black chickpeas (kala chana), the outer layer of the chickpea is removed and the inner kernel is split, resulting in small, yellow, split peas. These peas have a sweet, nutty flavour and are commonly used in a variety of dishes ranging from dal preparations (lentil soups) to sweets and side dishes.
Rich in protein, dietary fiber, and essential nutrients, Split Chickpeas is not only delicious but also highly nutritious. It’s often incorporated into vegetarian diets as a protein source. When cooked, Chana Dal has a soft texture, making it suitable for individuals of all ages.
In addition to its prominence in Indian cuisine, Split Chickpeas is also used in various other culinary traditions, especially in South Asian countries. Whether simmered with spices for a comforting dal curry, ground into flour (besan) for making sweets or fried snacks, or sprouted for salads, Chana Dal is versatile and fundamental to many traditional dishes.
How to Cook Chana Dal?
- Boiling – Stovetop Method: Rinse Chana Dal thoroughly, then place it in a bowl with water and allow to soak for 2-3 hours. Next place it in a pot with water (typically 2-3 times the volume of the dal) , Bring to a boil and then simmer until the dal is soft but not mushy. This method can take 30-45 minutes.
- Pressure Cooking: This is a faster approach. After rinsing, place the dal in a pressure cooker with water and cook for 3-4 whistles. It should be ready in about 15-20 minutes.
- Slow Cooking: This method brings out a deep flavour. Rinse the dal and place it in a slow cooker with water, spices, and other desired ingredients. Let it cook on a low setting for several hours until the dal is creamy and rich.
- Roasting: Before boiling, you can dry roast the Chana Dal in a pan until it’s golden. This gives the dal a nuttier flavour. After roasting, you can boil it as per the stovetop or pressure cooking method.
- Sprouting: Instead of cooking, you can sprout Chana Dal. Soak it in water overnight, drain the water, and then leave the dal in a warm place. Within a day or two, you’ll see sprouts. Sprouted Chana Dal can be added to salads or lightly sautéed.
How to prepare Indian Cuisine Food – Veggie Curry:
Chana Dal Recipe
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Chana Dal Ingredients:
- 1 cup Split Chickpeas - (200g) (Chana Dal, Bengal Gram)
- ½ cup Canned Chickpeas - (120g) drained
- 2 Fresh Tomatoes, Large - cut into wedges
- 1 Large Onion - diced
- 4 Garlic Cloves - minced
- 2 cups Vegetable Stock - (500ml)
- 1 cup Fresh Spinach - (100g)
- 2 tbsp Chana Dal Spice Blend - recipe below
- ½ cup Fresh Coriander - (50g)
- 2 Bell Peppers, Small - diced
- 1 Sweet Potato, Small - peeled and diced
- 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
- 5 Curry Leaves - sliced
- 1 Lime, juiced and Zested
- Ground Coriander - for garnish
- 4 tbsp Oil or Ghee - for roasting vegetables and frying onions
- Wash the chana dal thoroughly until the water runs clear. Soak the chana dal in 2 cups of water for about 2-3 hours.
- In the meantime preheat the oven to 392℉ (200℃). Place the diced peppers and sweet potato on a baking tray, drizzling them with oil and a touch of salt. Allow them to bake for 15-20 minutes and then set them aside.
- In a large saucepan, heat some oil or ghee over medium heat. Toss in the diced onions, letting them cook until they soften, which should take around 5 minutes. Follow this with the minced garlic, allowing it to cook for an additional minute.
- Next, incorporate the cumin seeds, curry leaves, and the Chana Dal Masoor spice blend into the mix, letting them cook for another minute. To this mixture, pour in the vegetable stock and get it to a boil. As the broth forms, reduce the heat, adding the chickpeas and Chana Dal, letting everything simmer for 20-25 minutes or until Chana Dal is al dente. If the sauce becomes too thick, you can add some water to adjust the consistency.
- Once the lentils are ready, integrate the diced tomatoes, roasted peppers, and sweet potato, letting them cook for about 5 more minutes. As a finishing touch, fold in the fresh spinach until it wilts, followed by the chopped coriander, lime juice, lime zest, and a salt to your taste.
- For the perfect meal, serve this hot with rice or bread of choice, sprinkling some ground coriander on top and a fresh lime juice drizzle to elevate the flavours. Enjoy!
- Making your own Masala – As a chef, I highly recommend investing in a small and inexpensive grinder to grind your own spices for the freshest and most aromatic masala blends for your curries. Store-bought spice blends can contain additives and preservatives, and often lose their potency over time. By grinding your own spices, you can control the quality and freshness of the ingredients, leading to more flavourful and aromatic dishes. Give it a try and taste the difference for yourself. Your taste buds will thank you!
From the Chef Lukasz
I hope that you enjoyed my recipe for delicious vegetable curry – Chana Dal. Let me know what cooking method you used to prepare this delicious Indian food!