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

chana dal indian recipe

chana dal fry recipe with step by step photos – here is a recipe of spiced 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 or lauki chana dal curry. sometimes to rice to make this 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 comes from black chickpeas (kala chana). they are split 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 pakora.

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.

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 these lentils are easy to digest.

lets start step by step chana dal fry recipe:

1. pick and rinse ¾ cup chana dal in running water for a couple of times. drain.

chana dal, bengal gram

2. soak the chana dal in enough water for an hour. if you have less time than soak the lentils in hot water for about 30 minutes.

rinse chana dal

3. later drain the water. soaked chana dal

4. add chana dal in pressure cooker. also add ¼ tsp add turmeric powder/haldi. for cooking the lentils in a pot or pan, kindly check the notes section of the recipe details below.

chana dal for cooking

5. add about 2.5 to 3 cups water.

chana dal for pressure cooking

6. pressure cook the chana dal for 7 to 8 whistles on a high flame, till they are softened and well cooked.

cooking chana dal

7. when the pressure settles down on its own, remove the lid. check whether the dal is cooked well or not. below pic shows cooked chana dal. cover and keep the cooked lentils aside.

cooked chana dal

8. heat 2 tbsp oil or ghee in a pan. add ¾ tsp cumin seeds first and fry for a few seconds till they splutter.

oil for making  chana dal masala

9. add the chopped garlic. about 4 to 5 garlic cloves which have been finely chopped.

sauting onions for chana dal fry

10. fry till the garlic become light brown.

making chana dal fry

11. now add ½ cup chopped onions.

onions for chana dal fry recipe

12. stir and saute the onions.

frying onions for chana dal fry

13. saute onions till they become golden.

making chana dal fry recipe

14. now add the chopped tomatoes. about 2 medium tomatoes, chopped.

tomatoes for chana dal recipe

15. add finely chopped ginger and green chili. 1 inch ginger and 1 green chili, finely chopped.

add ginger for chana dal recipe

16. stir well.

stir chana dal fry masala

17. then add all the dry spice powders – ½ tsp red chili powder, ¼ tsp turmeric powder, ½ tsp garam masala powder, ½ dry mango powder, a pinch of asafoetida and 1 tsp coriander powder.

spices for chana dal fry recipe

18. stir well and continue to saute.

making chana dal fry recipe

19. saute till the tomatoes are softened and the fat starts to leave the side of the masala mixture.

sauting chana dal masala

20. add the crushed kasoori methi/dry fenugreek leaves. 1 tsp kasuri methi which has been crushed.

making chana dal masala

21. stir again.

frying chana dal masala

22. pour the cooked chana dal along with its stock to the sauteed mixture. you can also add the sauteed masala mixture to the cooked dal.

tempering the chana dal

23. stir very well. if the dal looks thick, add about ½ cup water or more if required.

stir chana dal fry

24. season with salt.

add salt to chana dal fry recipe

25. stir and simmer the dal for 6 to 8 minutes till you get medium consistency in the chana dal.

simmer chana dal fry

26. the dal is neither thick nor thin. but you can keep the consistency thick if you want. if serving with rice, then medium consistency is preferred. if serving with rotis or phulkas, then you can make a slightly thick consistency.

chana dal recipe, chana dal fry recipe

27. add 1 to 2 tbsp of chopped coriander leaves. instead of adding now, you can also garnish the chana dal fry with coriander leaves, while serving.

garnish chana dal recipe

28. stir finally.

stir chana dal fry, bengal gram recipe

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

chana dal recipe

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

chana dal fry recipe below:

4.8 from 22 reviews
chana dal recipe
chana dal fry - punjabi style bengal gram lentils tempered & flavored with indian spices.
CUISINE: north indian
SERVES: 3-4 servings
INGREDIENTS (measuring cup used, 1 cup = 250 ml)
for pressure cooking the chana dal:
  • ¾ cup chana dal/bengal gram
  • 2.5 to 3 cups water
  • ¼ tsp turmeric/haldi
for tempering:
  • 2 medium sized tomatoes, chopped
  • ½ cup finely chopped onions
  • 1 inch ginger/adrak, finely chopped
  • 4-5 garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 green chili/hari mirch, chopped
  • ¾ tsp cumin seeds/jeera
  • ½ tsp red chili powder/lal mirch powder
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder/haldi
  • 1 tsp coriander powder/dhania powder
  • ½ tsp garam masala powder
  • ½ tsp dry mango powder/amchur powder or add as required
  • 1 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 mixing towards the end or garnishing
  1. pick and rinse the chana dal well in running water. soak the dal in enough water for an hour.
  2. drain the lentils and add them to the pressure cooker along with turmeric powder. add 2.5 to 3 cups water and stir well.
  3. on a high flame, pressure cook the lentils for 7 to 8 whistles or more, till the dal is softened and well cooked. keep the cooked chana dal aside.
  4. in another pan, heat oil or ghee.
  5. add the cumin first and fry for a few seconds till they splutter.
  6. then add the garlic and fry till they become light brown.
  7. now add the onions and fry till they get golden.
  8. now add the tomatoes, ginger and green chili.
  9. stir and add all the dry spice powders - turmeric powder, red chili powder, garam masala powder, asafoetida, dry mango powder and coriander powder.
  10. saute till the tomatoes get cooked and the oil starts to leave the side of the mixture.
  11. add the kasoori methi and stir.
  12. pour the cooked chana dal along with its stock to the sauteed masala mixture or vice versa.
  13. season with salt.
  14. stir and simmer the dal for 6-8 minutes till you get medium consistency of the dal. the dal is neither thick nor thin.
  15. garnish chana dal with chopped coriander leaves.
  16. 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 sauteed masala tempering mixture, 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.

for cooking the chana dal in a pot, first soak the lentils for an hour. then take 4 cups of water along with the drained lentils in a pot. also add turmeric powder. cover and cook the lentils for 45 minutes to 1 hour, till they are softened. add more water if required. if the mixure froths, then cook uncovered initially and then later cover and cook. a few drops of oil can also be added to reduce the frothing.

{ 112 Responses }

  1. Ankit Sharma says

    Hi Dassana,

    This recipe has been a savior for us bachelors living so far from home.!
    An amazing website for retards like me who dunno anything about cooking.!!!
    Amazing endeavor.
    Thanks from the bottom of our hearts and our hungry bellies :)
    5 Stars all the way!!!!!!

  2. sharada says

    Hi Dassana,
    Your recipes are divine ..!!I have tried so many of them and your method of preparation never disappoints. …One quick question ..can I substitute lemon with amchur powder?
    Thanks & Regards

    • says

      welcome sharada. thanks for sharing positive feedback. yes you can substitute lemon with amchur powder. add towards the end as per your taste.

  3. Helgi says

    Lovely! I want to learn more Indian recipes – mainly dal and such – and will be coming back to this site for sure.
    Thank you for sharing :-)

  4. george says

    how long is a whistle??!!
    I’ve asked half a dozen people and nobody seems to know,
    why not just say it in minutes? it would be so much simpler


    • says

      george, whistle which is there in the pressure cooker, lets out the pressure and steam and makes lot of noise. once all the pressure and steam is gone, then whistle again drops down to its original position. thats how we calculate the number of whistles (basically by sound which can be heard in another room or house also). each whistle sound last for 3-7 seconds depending upon the size of the cooker. i suggest you to cook chana dal till it gets cooked completely.

  5. Be says

    Hi, made this last night and it’s really tasty. I didn’t have any fenugreek leaves but it was still very good.

    Is it possible to double or triple this recipe without any problems?

  6. Karen says

    Just an FYI, I’m making your chana dal today and I noticed that the garam masala is mentioned in your step by step and in your instructions, but not listed as an ingredient in the “for tempering” section of the recipe for print.

    My question is, it looks like you’re making the fry portion in a wok. Is that right? I love that idea and will use mine today. Also, the hair mirth – will a jalapeño do for this?

    Many thanks!

    • says

      thanks karen, i will update the post. yes it is the indian kadai which is similar to a wok. you can make in wok too. 1 jalapeno should be fine. welcome.

  7. Claire says

    How many will this chana dhal feed approx if served with rice and veg and naan. Cooking for 55 thanks.

  8. Areeba says

    Thanks for sharing! My husband and I love this recipe. Quick question – I am not a fan of the pressure cooker (it just doesn’t always turn out well for me), can I soak the dal for an hour and then boil it for a while instead? What is the equivalent boiling time vs. pressure cooking time for the chana dal? Simmer or full boil? Thanks so much!

    • says

      better to soak the dal for an hour and then cook it. pressure cooking takes less time. say about 7 to 8 mins. cooking in a pot will take 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the atmospheric and temperature conditions. first full boil and then simmer on a medium flame.

  9. Noor says

    Hi Dasana you recipe looks delicious. Just a quick question. Can I replace the raw chana dhal with canned garbanzo beans? If so what changes should I make to the recipe?

  10. Kim M says

    WOW!! This recipe is SO GOOD, my whole family (including young children) loved it. I halved the red chili powder & omitted the green chili to make sure it was mild since I was serving to children – and that worked well for us. (Though next time I want to try cooking as written.) Thank you so much for this recipe! I can’t wait to try others on your site.

  11. Renu Tawadey says

    Excellent…. yet to try ….will surely keep you updated as soon as i hear from you…thanks Renu

  12. HM says

    This is fabulous. One of the most balanced dal dishes I have made. Just enough heat. Not too bitter. Everything works together perfectly. It was the first time I used hing. I cut up a tiny amount of dried mango to sub for the powder (maybe a teaspoon), and I think the little bit of sweet was nice. I will make this again in a heartbeat, and probably double the recipe and freeze for later. So warming and satisfying. Thank you for this recipe.

    • says

      thanks and welcome. hing gives a nice aromatic touch to the dal. in fact you can just add a pinch to any of the recipes which require tempering. dried mango also works well as sub for the powder. good to know that you sliced the right proportion. otherwise in some indian regions like goa, dried mangoes are used a souring agent for curries. actually chana dal has a sweetness of its own and this dal is basically sweet with just a wee bit of tang coming from dry mango powder.

      • Sumitra says

        I think the dried mango powder is made from green mango? Hence, the sour taste and would be different from fresh sweet ripe mango fruit. Can’t wait to make my first Chana Dahl….the pea is so different from the moong.
        Thank you for this receipe!

        • says

          dried mango powder is made from raw unripe sour mangoes. i have a method already posted on how to make amchur powder at home. i make at home and avoid using the store brought one. thanks.

  13. Sally says

    Hi Dassana

    I love this recipe – cooked it tonight for the first time. I was missing a few ingredients (mango powder and methi leaves) And also cheated a bit as I didn’t have any fresh tomatoes or garlic – so I used tinned plum tomato and garlic puree – it tasted really good still.

    I have only recently started cooking so I’m still very ‘by the book’! Please can you clarify – when the dal is cooked – do I just leave it in the tumeric water while tempering then add the tempering to that? I drained it!! Then realised after so made some fresh tumeric water and poured that back in?! Also – is it tumeric powder in the first bit when you cook the dal??

    Can’t wait to make it with all the proper ingredients.

    Thanks :)

    • says

      hi sally, glad to know with all the ingredients you had, you still managed to make a great dal. when the dal is cooked, the stock or water is not thrown. we just keep it. although if there is too much water, then just simmer till the water evaporates. yes, its turmeric powder. in indian cooking, its turmeric powder that is always used and not whole turmeric. fresh whole turmeric is used for making pickles and dry turmeric is used to make spice blends.

  14. Tony says

    Greetings from UK!

    I haven’t tried this recipe yet but it looks delicious. I have all of the ingredients except for the amchur so I will use the juice of one lime instead. Thanks for sharing the wonderful cuisine of India with us. I will be back for more.

    P.S. Nice website design

  15. priya sivakumar says

    It was so easy to prepare and the taste is wonderful.Deepa likes it very much.
    Thank u for such simple tasteful recipes.

  16. Andrea Pascual says

    Dear Dassana,

    I have just prepared this Chana Dal for the first time and I must say it is outstanding. Thank you so much.


  17. Simran Rehal says

    The chana dal i made frm ur recipe was fr da 1st tym but no one was of tht opinion they said me tht i am a pro feshnl cook thnx 4 ur recipe

  18. Pradeep says

    Excellent…… I love chana dal as it is full of proteins and is very healthful.I am purely vegetarian so I include lentils in my diet.

  19. Bridget says

    Thank you so much for your recipe! I’ve recently fallen on hard times and am also practising to invite a vegan friend over for dinner, so i tried this in some trepidation hoping it would be okay.

    It’s better than okay! I’m on my second bowl now, the texture is lovely and filling, the flavour kind of sweet… and the lumps of tomato in it are delicious.

    thank you very much. :)

  20. Parul says

    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?

    • says

      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.

  21. Victoria says

    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!

    • says

      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.

  22. Gabriela says

    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!

  23. Mike M says

    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.

  24. Sue says

    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

  25. laurel says

    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.

  26. Shelli says

    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?

    • says

      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.

  27. Mia says

    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

  28. Neelam says

    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

  29. Karen says

    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.

    • says

      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.

    • says

      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.

  30. Sarah says

    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?

      • Sarah says

        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!

  31. Nandita says

    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!

  32. LBuubuu says

    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 says

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

  33. tara says

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

  34. Iram says

    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!

  35. Andrew says

    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!

  36. Miriam says

    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!

  37. Jyoti says

    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!

  38. says

    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.

    • says

      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.

  39. says

    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!