Curried Chana Dal

We have an international food store up the street from our house.  I love to cruise around in it and check out all the exotic foods.  On one recent visit, I spied some bags of chana dal.  Chana dal is a bean that’s related to the garbanzo bean.  I thought they’d be a great and cheap source of fiber and protein, so I picked some up.  While searching for recipes, I found a great online source for chana dal recipes.  David Mendoza writes about diabetes, and he had a ton of great chana dal recipes here on his website, including the one I used for my chana dal.  This turned out great.  It was filling, delicious, and relatively dirt cheap to make.  I served it over jasmine rice. 



Curried Chana Dal (Adapted from David Mendoza at


  • 1 1/2 cup (12 oz.) chana dal, washed and drained
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 t ground turmeric
  • 1/2 t ground cumin
  • 1  ground coriander
  • 1/2 t cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 3 T. butter or margarine
  • 1 t cumin seed
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 T grated fresh ginger
  • 1 t garam masala
  • 1 8 oz can of tomato sauce
  • 2 T chopped fresh coriander leaves (I didn’t have this on hand, but it would be delicious with these.)


1.  Put chana dal in a bowl. Add enough cold water to cover and soak overnight. 

2.  To cook, drain chana dal. Place chana dal, water, turmeric, cumin, coriander, and cayenne in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover pan, and simmer for about 1 hour. 

3.  In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add cumin seed and cook for 1 minute. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, or until onion turns golden brown.   Add the tomato sauce and cook for about another 5 minutes.

4.  Add chana dal and cooking liquid to onion mixture. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cover pan, reduce heat to low, and simmer 30 minutes or until chana dal is tender but not mushy. 

5.  Add garam masala and mix well. 

6.  Place chana dal in a serving dish and sprinkle with chopped coriander leaves.

Published in: on March 22, 2009 at 6:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

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