Pakistani Chana Dal is a delicious vegetarian recipe that’s healthy and packed with protein. Learn how to make it perfectly at home, with my tips & tricks.
So let’s talk about dal today. I love making dal because it’s super easy and delicious. Given that this Daal is one of the most popular recipes on the blog, I decided its time to share another one of my favourite dal recipes…the very delicious chana dal recipe!!
P.S. If you’re interested in learning more about South Asian lentil recipes, check out this Ultimate Guide to Daal Recipes in the Pakistani & Indian Manner. There are lots of delicious recipes included too!
Chana dal is also commonly known as panjabi chana dal masala or chana dal fry. It's quite popular at small roadside restaurants called dhabbas. And served with roti and some salad or chutney, its a really delicious and comforting recipe.
Chana dal is bengal gram. It’s made from brown or black chickpeas that have been split and skinned and polished.
No, Chana Dal is made from split chickpeas. Yellow lentils are smaller lentils and known as moong daal.
How to Make It?
While in my recipe for Daal (Indian yellow Lentils) I boil moong daal with a few spices, for my chana dal recipe I use a different method.
We start by soaking the chana dal in water for an hour or so.
While it is soaking, I make a masala of tomatoes and onions in the pot.
Then add the chana dal (after the water has been drained) and cook it with a little bit of water, in essence frying the dal for 5-7 minutes.
Now add about 1 cup of water and cover the pot till the dal is cooked through. It will take about 25-30 minutes to cook the dal.
Chana Dal only needs to be cooked until it can be easily squashed between two fingers. Unlike other lentils, chana dal is cooked until its just cooked through and doesn’t lose its shape.
Once the chana dal is cooked, garnish it with green chillies, chopped coriander and butter.
Chana dal goes really well with roti or chappati. It’s also delicious with this Indian Salad and Green Chutney.
If you’re looking for side dishes to serve with it then these Chicken Seekh Kebab or Aloo Tikki are a great option.
Hope you enjoy this recipe!! 🙂
More Indian & Pakistani Recipes to Enjoy:
Jeera Rice - Only 3 Ingredients
Chana Dal Recipe
- 1 cup chana dal
- 1/4 cup oil
- 1 medium onion chopped finely
- 3 medium tomatoes chopped roughly
- 1 teaspoon red chilli powder kashmiri lal mirch
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 1 green chilli
- 2 tablespoons ginger garlic paste
- 1-2 cups of water
- Chopped coriander for garnish
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Start by soaking the chana dal in warm water for about 1 hour.
- While the dal is soaking, start making your masala in a pot.
- Heat oil in a pot, and add the onion and fry until just light golden brown.
- Now add the ginger garlic paste and fry for 30 seconds or so.
- Add the tomatoes and spices.
- Cook on medium high heat, until the tomatoes are completely softened and the oil has separated from the masala.
- Now add the chana dal (after draining the water it was soaked in) and fry the dal for 6-7 minutes. Keep adding 1-2 tablespoons of water and stirring so that the dal doesn’t stick to the pot.
- Once the oil has separated again, add about 1 cup of water.
- Cover the pot, and cook on medium low heat until the dal has cooked through, stirring every few minutes.
- The dal is cooked when you can easily squash one lentil with your fingers. But the trick for cooking good chana dal is to make sure that it’s just cooked enough, but doesn’t lose it’s shape and become mushy.
- Depending on the quality of your chana dal, you may also need to add a little more water, until it is cooked through. Chana dal takes about 30-40 minutes to cook through, but this may vary a bit.
- Once the chana dal is cooked, top it with freshly chopped coriander and a couple knobs of butter.
- Serve immediatly.
Very good, thank you for sharing it! Had it for dinner tonight 🙂
Glad you enjoyed it Catherine! 🙂
Nice to see this recipe of Chana Dal Masala here. Most of the chefs enjoy sharing recipes of chicken and mutton dishes. They completely ignore the vast variety of vegetables in India and the multiple options they offer. I am going to try this recipe sometime and check out whether it turns yummy.
Does this recipe not require salt?
Hi Shelly, it does require salt. I missed it out in the ingredient list. Thanks for pointing it out!