chana dal recipe, how to make chana dal fry recipe | easy chana dal

by dassana amit updated January 14, 2014

chana dal: chana dal recipe, north indian chana dal fry

chana dal fry recipe - here is a recipe of a dal curry that i make often with chana dal. chana dal is a favorite at home. sometimes i add chana dal to vegetables like in this cabbage upkari and sometimes to rice to make this awesome chana dal biryani or chana dal khichdi and most of the times i make this simple chana dal fry.

chana dal is also known as bengal gram. these lentils have a sweet and nutty taste. chana dal is got from black chickpeas (kala chana). they are spilt and the outer cover is removed. these lentils are also powdered to give besan or gram flour.

few other recipes which i make using chana dal are chana dal paratha, bengali cholar dal and chana dal lauki curry.

chana dal lentils bengal gram

the flavors & taste of this chana dal fry is north indian and the preparation is like the way we make in punjabi households.

the chana dal is best served with steamed basmati rice and a side raita, kachumber/salad or a vegetable dish. you could also serve it with rotis or naan along with cucumber raita and some papads.

indian chana dal fry

for faster cooking of the chana dal, its best to soak them in water for an hour. you can cook the dal in a pressure cooker or in a pan. the chana dal should be cooked soft, so that it is easy to digest.

chana dal recipe

if you are looking for more dal recipes then do check dal tadka, dal fry, moong dal tadka, whole masoor dal, dal makhani and palak dal.

chana dal recipe details below:

4.9 from 9 reviews
chana dal
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
chana dal fry - bengal gram lentils tempered & flavored with indian spices.
Recipe type: main
Cuisine: north indian
Serves: 2-3 servings
for cooking the chana dal:
  • ¾ cup chana dal/bengal gram
  • 2.5 or 3 cups water
  • ¼ tsp turmeric/haldi
for tempering:
  • 2 medium sized tomatoes
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 1 inch ginger, finely chopped
  • 4-5 garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 green chili, chopped
  • ¾ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp red chili powder/lal mirch powder
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder/haldi
  • 1 tsp coriander powder/dhania powder
  • ½ tsp dry mango powder/amchur powder
  • 1 or 1.5 tsp kasoori methi/dry methi leaves
  • a pinch of asafoetida/hing
  • 2 tbsp oil or ghee
  • salt as required
  • a few coriander/cilantro leaves for garnishing
  1. pick and rinse the chana dal well. soak the dal for an hour.
  2. drain and pressure cook the chana dal with water and turmeric powder till they are soft and well cooked.
  3. heat oil or ghee. add the cumin first and fry for a few seconds.
  4. add the garlic and fry till they become light brown.
  5. now add the onions and fry till they get golden.
  6. now add the tomatoes, ginger and green chili.
  7. stir and add all the dry spice powders.
  8. saute till the tomatoes get cooked and the oil starts to leave the side of the mixture.
  9. add the kasoori methi and fry for some seconds. pour this tempering mixture on the dal.
  10. stir and simmer the dal for 5-7 minutes till you get medium consistency of the dal. the dal is neither thick nor thin.
  11. garnish chana dal with chopped coriander leaves.
  12. serve the chana dal hot with some basmati rice or rotis or bread.
the consistency of the dal can be easily adjusted. if the dal becomes thick, then after adding the tempering, add some water and simmer for some minutes. if the dal become thin, simmer for a longer time so that you get the right consistency.

to make the dal gluten free, omit adding the asafoetida/hing.

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{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }

Parul April 21, 2014 1

your recipes are very easy to use..however my dals always tend to come out slightly different than the usual dals…water n dal dont seem to merge together…can you guess why?


dassana amit April 21, 2014 2

parul, i think you are not cooking the dal well enough so that blends with the water. the dal has to be cooked to such a smooth consistency that you can easily mash them even with the large spoon. you have to stir well also and if there is more water in the end.. then simmer the dal without the lid (with often stirrings) so that extra water evaporates. in the end, water should not have a separate layer in the dal.


anindya chatterjee April 13, 2014 3



Victoria March 15, 2014 4

Quick query: We have a dozen mango trees here in Miami. Do you have any idea how we could make our own mango powder? Is it from the seed or the fruit? Of course, we will have to wait until summer, but I am happy to share! We even have an Indian Alphonse tree! They are just budding now. Thanks for the great recipe!


dassana amit March 15, 2014 5

mango powder or what we call amchur in hindi, is made from sun dried unripe mangoes. just peel the unripe mangoes. the using a peeler, just slice the unripe mangoes thinly. keep in the sun till the mango slices are dried completely. turn over in between drying, so that they get dried uniformly. once they are completely dried, then ground them in a dry grinder till fine. just add a bit of the mango powder, as the homemade ones are stronger in taste and flavor than with the store brought ones.


Gabriela January 14, 2014 6

Forgot to rate it, it does deserve 5 stars!


Gabriela January 14, 2014 7

Delicious! I increased the quantities a bit, added some cumin powder also and I top it up with fried onions and sprinkle of masala & coriander. I’ll add this recipe to my favourites!


dassana amit January 14, 2014 8

thanks gabriela. nice to know your variation of making this dal more flavorful. keep visiting.


Mike M January 1, 2014 9

Excellent dish! It’s a great dal dish- nice and bright tasting from ginger and coriander, but balanced by the cumin, chili powder/green chili, and earthy turmeric. I didn’t have fenugreek leaves, so I used Chutney powder (asafoedita, chili powder, lemon powder, urad powder), which worked wonderfully at 1 tsp. I just finished my meal and I’m already excited for leftovers tomorrow. It seems so meaty, yet it is vegetarian. Will be making this again no doubt, thanks.


dassana amit January 1, 2014 10

thanks mike. nice to know your variations.


Sue December 29, 2013 11

Hi Dassana
Thank you so much for sharing this chana dal recipe, best one I ever made, my husband & I thoroughly enjoyed it especially after the Christmas festival


dassana amit December 29, 2013 12

welcome sue. nice to know that you and your husband liked the chana dal recipe. happy new year to both of you.


Abiha rizvi December 15, 2013 13

Urs chala dal fry is suprb delicious . Love it


dassana amit December 16, 2013 14

thanks abiha


laurel December 10, 2013 15

Hey, I made this chana dal today for the 1st time with this recipe. But I prepared it without fenugreek because I didn’t have that ingredient. But it was tasty. Thank you for this recipe.


dassana amit December 11, 2013 16

welcome laurel. fenugreek gives a very nice aroma but without it also the dal tastes good.


Shelli October 29, 2013 17

Hi. Just want to check if I am boiling the chana dal, after its soft, do I keep the remaining water in the pot once its done and then add the remaining ingredients to the pot of Dahl and water?

Also, how much water should I use if putting the dal in a pot to cook?


dassana November 2, 2013 18

there should be no broth or water floating on the chana dal. it should be a homogenous mixture. so that means the dal has to be cooked really well. once the dal is cooked, then you can add the remaining ingredients as mentioned in the recipe. you can use about 4 to 4.5 cups water. soak the dal for 1-2 hours and then cook them. also remove the scum which is formed on top when the dal is cooking.


Mia October 19, 2013 19

Hi dassana. Ive found u and never letting go, ur recipes r simply delicious and so easy to follow,Iam not indian yet when i found indian food i must say itz the best in the world. dassana ur take on recipes are just like you simply stunning.. Mia


dassana October 22, 2013 20

thanks mia. i am glad that u liked the site and the recipes. indian food is very rich and diverse.


Neelam October 15, 2013 21

Awesome yaar ur technique of explaining is so good u make yhe person understand very well , means no second doubt once u explain . And fantastic recipes. Keep posting


dassana October 15, 2013 22

thanks neelam.


Karen August 22, 2013 23

I made this today and my husband is attempting to save it. I didn’t have fenugreek and it tastes okay but not that flavorful. There is no extra liquid so it’s a bit dry. He’s added boiling water, some garam masala and more of the spices called for, and trying to get it creamier by lightly boiling it. I must admit that I don’t have a lot of luck with bean recipes. I grew up with Eastern European parents so we didn’t eat these kinds of foods. My husband is Anglo-Indian so I’d like to be able to make some Indian dishes he likes.


dassana August 24, 2013 24

i hope finally the dal was good. actually this is a creamy dal and has medium consistency. if the lentils are cooked in a pot then double the quantity of water is required to cook them, than if they had been cooked in a pressure cooker.

while cooking beans or lentils, its always better to soak them first and then cook them. soaked beans or lentils are faster to cook than unsoaked ones. in fact in indian cuisine beans are lentils are an integral part of the diet. so there is always an experience in cooking them. however you can also try to cook them. its not difficult. just soak them overnight. strain them. in a pot take 3-4 cups water for 1 cup soaked lentils. first bring the water to a boil. then add a pinch of turmeric powder and the soaked lentils. simmer without a lid. remove the scum that gets collected on top. continue to cook till the lentils become soft and mushy. add more water if required. hope this helps.


Judy August 22, 2013 25

How long do you pressure cook the dal for?


dassana August 23, 2013 26

judy, i make the chana dal very soft. so i pressure cook on high flame for 4-5 whistles.


Rohit August 19, 2013 27

Isn’t it more common to add hing right at the beginning?


dassana August 19, 2013 28

depends. you can even add hing in the beginning. one has to make sure that it does not get burnt if added right in the beginning.


Sarah July 28, 2013 29

Just wanted to ask you, once you’ve soaked the dal in water for an hour, do you drain out all the water and cook the dal and turmeric powder on its own, or do you cook it in the water?


dassana July 28, 2013 30

hi sarah, i usually drain the water and then cook the dal in fresh water along with the turmeric powder.


Sarah August 7, 2013 31

Thanks so much for clarifying. I’ve made your recipe twice now, and both times it has turned out to be a big hit with family and friends! Will be sticking to this chana dal recipe from now on!


dassana August 7, 2013 32

thanks sarah for the positive feedback.


Nandita July 17, 2013 33

I finally tried this channa dal fry recipe and it came out really well. Your goan style drumstick dal also looks good, will comment when I try it out!


dassana July 17, 2013 34

thanks once again nandita. sure :-)


LBuubuu July 6, 2013 35

This is the nicest Indian recipe I have ever cooked or possibly eaten! I can’t believe following your recipe (and using fresh turmeric and one purple potato and my new organic ghee) turned me into a good cook. Usually my curries are bitter or lacking depth this blew me away. Very happy :-)


dassana July 10, 2013 36

thanks LBuubuu for this positive feedback. i am glad your recipe turned out great.


tara June 21, 2013 37

hi….. i tried this receipe it was awesome… iam in love with this channa dal.. thanx for the receipe


dassana June 21, 2013 38



Iram June 5, 2013 39

I tried this recipe today and it turned out great. I didn’t have fenugreek leaves and hing, still it is very flavorful. I loved the photograph, it looks appetizing and tastes great as well. Thank you!


dassana June 5, 2013 40

thanks iram for the positive feedback.


Andrew May 20, 2013 41

I cooked this last night and it was DELICIOUS. Thank you. I am lucky enough to have a Benghali grocer nearby so had all the ingredients but the fenugreek leaf so i just left it out. Hope it doesn’t make too much difference! Going to cook the Punjabi Chole next. Yum!


dassana May 20, 2013 42

fenugreek leaf adds it own flavor to the dal but its OK if you don’t have. it will work.


Miriam April 16, 2013 43

Hi Dassana,

Sorry how much cumin should we put in? You say “add the cumin first and fry for a few seconds”… is it just a little to see if the oil is hot enough, or is it for flavour too? Sorry maybe I have missed where you wrote this…?

Thanks so much I made it once already with one teaspoon of cumin and it was delicious, but I thought it best to ask in case it was vastly different!

Thank you!


dassana April 16, 2013 44

3/4 to 1 tsp of cumin is fine. the oil should be medium hot. if its very hot, the cumin will burn quickly.


Jyoti March 18, 2013 45

yet another wonderful recipe Dassana! tried it last night & everybody in my family loved it…infact my kids kept asking me if it was ordered from a restaurant… was such a simple yet flavourful dal….thanks once again & keep up the good work!


dassana March 18, 2013 46

thanks jyoti for the feedback.


Laura March 16, 2013 47

Yum! This looks delicious. Pinning now.


Monica March 14, 2013 48

I loved this recipe. I made it just this week and it was so good. I simplified it a little. I just used butter instead of ghee and I couldn’t find mango powder. I love your photography.


dassana March 14, 2013 49

thanks monica for the link as well as the feedback. butter would also do instead of ghee. in place of mango powder, you could add some lemon juice. there would be a slight tangy taste in the dal. also thanks for liking the photography.


Sowmya March 14, 2013 50

so comforting and so homey!!!


Rashida Shaikh March 4, 2013 51

We cook it in a different way, sometime adding bottle gourd.
I like the salad has served with chana dal.


dassana March 4, 2013 52

we also cook chana dal with bottle gourd but thats a different recipe than this one.


aparna March 2, 2013 53

mouth watering seriously :) loved the salad near :)


nags March 2, 2013 54

i love dal with chana dal. i also love those bharanis (as we call them in kerala). i use it to store pickles but now realise i can use them as props too :) so pretty!