Many Ways with Chana Dal

Chana dal is comforting and easy to make!

LF Team

Dal is that one humble dish that holds a place of importance in almost every household across the Indian subcontinent. Lentils or pulses of one’s choice cooked up in nothing other than water along with a few spices, makes one of the most comforting dishes. While each region has its own take on this lentil soup, all variations boast of an earthy creaminess, enough to stir up your soul. From masoor and tur, yellow and green, to everything in between – almost all lentils are powerhouses of nutrition, helping us raise a toast to health. Of all the dals, did you know that the humble chana dal, aka Bengal gram, acts as a great calorie buster and could help you get ahead in your weight loss race? Apart from lending a nice nutty taste and soft buttery texture to your dals, chana dal is also high in fibre, keeping you full for long, thus controlling your appetite. That’s not all. This dal is also loaded in iron, manganese, phosphorus and magnesium, and brags of a low glycemic index making it easier to digest. If this isn’t enough reason for you to be loading up on this dal, we don’t what else could be!

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Chana Dal Recipe

If you like to have this dal, the traditional way – an earthy lentil dish that pairs perfectly well with a plate of rice, naan or chapati, then we’ve got you covered.  Here’s a very basic, mildly-spiced yellow split chickpeas dal recipe, a flavourful way to get your daily source of proteins. While the chana dal recipe may vary from household to household, and region to region, the key thing about them is their creaminess. The chickpeas are simmered for a long time in water and spices, till they reach a porridge-like thick, creamy texture. Even at this stage, this soupy lentil dish is ready to warm your belly and even soul. However, it is the tarka or tadka that finishes most chana dal recipes. Typically, spices and other aromatics are sautéed in oil, butter or ghee, then scattered on top and stirred in, making the lentil soup come alive with flavour.

Chana Dal Recipe

Ingredients for Chana Dal Recipe:

1 cup chana dal
2 medium-sized onions
1 turai (Ridge gourd)
2 tomatoes
1/2 inch ginger

Method for Chana Dal Recipe:

1. After cleaning the chana dal, and washing through some running water, soak it overnight or for at least two hours.
2. Next, heat some oil or ghee in a pressure cooker. When heated enough, add in your finely chopped onions, and give it a good stir. When the onions begin to change colour, that is when they begin to brown, add in your chopped turai, and give it all a good stir.
3. Next, throw in some red chilli powder for colour. Add your dal into the cooker, and pour some water, a little above the dal and bring to a boil. Place the lid of the cooker and then cook for about 5 to 6 whistles.
4. Once done, wait for the cooker to cool down - you’ll know this when you release pressure and there’s no more whistling sound. Whisk lightly using a wooden hand blender.
5. Transfer the dal from the cooker to an open vessel, and continue to cook on a low flame. Throw in some dhania powder, garam masala powder, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, salt to taste and give it all a nice stir. Add water accordingly to adjust the consistency
6. Add the grated tomatoes, finely chopped ginger, some freshly chopped coriander and cook for another few minutes.

Lauki Chana Dal Recipe

Make the chana dal recipe with lauki. Follow the simple instructions in this recipe video to make this main course dish at home.

Many Ways with Chana Dal


While you can certainly have your chana straight from the bowl, it’s even better to tear off a piece of chapati or naan and scoop up some of the dal. Apart from these, chana dal also tastes good when relished alongside a generous serving of aloo matar sabzi, especially if you love all things potatoes. If not, you could further up your cooking game by pairing your dal chawal with some easy-peasy paneer recipes, for a protein-packed meal.

More Ways With Chana Dal

Versatile that it is, chana dal can find its way into a number of other dishes, helping you to take this healthy lentil from breakfast to dinner, and even dessert! You could ground some soaked chana dal into a fine powder and mix along with your regular atta or dosa batter to make some power-packed chapatis or dosas. Chana dal also lends a nice nutty flavour to your pancakes and even deep-fried puris. If not, use some mildly-spiced chana dal (leftovers work best) as a studding for your parathas. Try this Bikaneri-style chana dal paratha at your next breakfast.

Many Ways with Chana Dal

This lauki and chana dal sabzi is also makes for a yummy way to ensure your kids and family get their daily dose of health. Up your kebab and cutlet game by substituting potatoes with soaked and cooked chana dal instead. Here’s a basic rajma galouti kebab recipe which you could use as inspiration to make something of your own. You can make some sweet and spicy chana dal chutney, an instant way to spice up any and every meal. If you can’t get enough of chana dal, you could simply take your love for chana dal beyond savoury, and make some mean kheers, halwas and barfis starring the goodness of chana dal.

Image: Shutterstock


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