Go Back
+ servings
Chana Dal

Chana Dal

You really can't go wrong by making this chana dal recipe. Have fun experimenting and let us know what variations you come up with!
Course Entree
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 3 hours
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 40 minutes
Yield 4 servings
Calories 255 kcal
Author Jocelyn Weiss


  • 1 cup chana dal
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon tumeric powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon asafetida optional, see note
  • 1 Tablespoon tamarind pulp or 1 or T. lemon juice & 1 t. sugar
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen peas thawed
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut or olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1 clove garlic chopped


  1. Measure the dal into a bowl and sort through it to remove any unskinned (dark) dal, small stones or other debris. Soak the chana dal in 4 c. water for 2-3 hours, then wash under running water and drain.
  2. Bring the water and salt to a boil in a medium-size pot. Add the chana dal and wait for the water to begin its second boil, then cover the pot and cook over medium-to-low heat for 30 min. Some foam may develop while simmering - just use a ladle to remove and recover. When done, remove the cover and stir up the dal.
  3. Add the peas, cayenne, turmeric, cumin, coriander, asafetida (if using), and the tamarind pulp. Stir well and allow to simmer uncovered while you prepare the next step.

  4. In a separate small pot or frying pan, heat the oil over low heat and add the mustard seeds and chopped garlic to it. When the oil gets hot, the mustard seeds will begin to pop. When they have ceased popping, add the oil mixture to the simmering pot of dal, stirring once with a spoon to mix in the new ingredients.
  5. Immediately cover the pot and keep covered for 2 minutes while the dal continues to simmer.
  6. Cook uncovered for another 5 minutes.
  7. Taste to correct seasonings such as salt and other spices (increase keeping the same proportions).

Recipe Notes

Asafetida is used as a digestive aid, in food as a condiment, and in pickles. It typically works as a flavor enhancer and, used along with turmeric, is a standard component of Indian cuisine, particularly in lentil curries, such as dal. It can be found in Indian or other ethnic and specialty markets.