chana dal recipe, how to make chana dal | bengal gram recipe

chana dal fry recipe - punjabi style bengal gram lentils tempered & flavored with indian spices.
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4.83 from 57 votes

chana dal recipe with step by step photos – here is a delicious recipe of spiced dal curry that i make often with chana dal.

chana dal recipe

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.

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.

chana dal is a favorite at home. i make variety of recipes with chana dal like  chana dal sundal or cholar dal or maah chole ki dal.

but most of the times i make this simple chana dal fry. the chana dal is best served with steamed basmati rice or jeera 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.

if you are looking for more dal recipes then do check:

chana dal recipe

Author:Dassana Amit
Prep Time:15 minutes
Cook Time:15 minutes
Total Time:30 minutes
Course:main course
Cuisine:north indian
Servings (change the number to scale):3 to 4 servings
4.83 from 57 votes
chana dal recipe, punjabi chana dal fry recipe
chana dal fry recipe - punjabi style bengal gram lentils tempered & flavored with indian spices.

INGREDIENTS FOR chana dal recipe

(1 CUP = 250 ML)

for pressure cooking chana dal

  • ¾ cup chana dal (bengal gram)
  • 2.5 to 3 cups water
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder (haldi)

for tempering the chana dal

  • 2 medium sized tomatoes - chopped
  • ½ cup finely chopped onions
  • 1 inch ginger - finely chopped (adrak)
  • 4 to 5 garlic - finely chopped (lahsun)
  • 1 green chili - chopped (hari mirch)
  • ¾ teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder (lal mirch powder)
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder (haldi)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder (dhania powder)
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala powder
  • ½ teaspoon dry mango powder (amchur powder) or add as required
  • 1 teaspoon kasoori methi (dry fenugreek leaves)
  • a pinch of asafoetida (hing)
  • 2 tablespoon oil or ghee
  • salt as required
  • a few coriander leaves (cilantro) for mixing towards the end or garnishing

HOW TO MAKE chana dal recipe

pressure cooking chana dal

  • pick and rinse the chana dal well in running water. 
  • soak the dal in enough water for an hour.
  • drain the lentils and add them to the pressure cooker along with turmeric powder. add 2.5 to 3 cups water and stir well.
  • 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.

making chana dal

  • in another pan, heat oil or ghee.
  • add the cumin first and fry for a few seconds till they splutter.
  • then add the garlic and fry till they become light brown.
  • now add the onions and fry till they get golden.
  • now add the tomatoes, ginger and green chili.
  • stir and add all the dry spice powders - turmeric powder, red chili powder, garam masala powder, asafoetida, dry mango powder and coriander powder.
  • saute till the tomatoes get cooked and the oil starts to leave the side of the mixture.
  • add the kasoori methi and stir.
  • pour the cooked chana dal along with its stock to the sauteed masala mixture or vice versa. season with salt.
  • stir and simmer the dal for 6-8 minutes till you get medium consistency of the dal. the chana dal is neither thick nor thin.
  • garnish chana dal with chopped coriander leaves.
  • serve the chana dal hot with some basmati rice or rotis or bread.

RECIPE TIPS

tips for making chana dal

consistency of chana dal can be easily adjusted:
  1. if the dal becomes thick, then after adding the sauteed masala tempering mixture, add some water and simmer for some minutes.
  2. if the dal become thin, simmer for a longer time so that you get the right consistency.
for cooking the chana dal in a pot or pan: 
  1. first soak the lentils for an hour.
  2. then take 4. cups of water along with the drained lentils in a pot.
  3. also add turmeric powder. cover and cook the lentils for 45 minutes to 1 hour, till they are softened. add more water if required.
  4. 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.
note: to make the chana dal gluten free, omit adding the asafoetida (hing).
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how to make chana dal recipe

cooking chana dal

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 for chana dal recipe

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 above.

cooking chana dal for chana dal recipe

5. add about 2.5 to 3 cups water.

cooking chana dal for making chana dal recipe

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 for making chana dal recipe

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

cooked chana dal for preparing chanda dal recipe

making chana dal fry

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 recipe

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

sauting onions for chana dal fry recipe

10. fry till the garlic become light brown.

making chana dal fry recipe

11. now add ½ cup chopped onions.

onions for chana dal fry recipe

12. stir and saute the onions.

frying onions for chana dal recipe

13. saute onions till they become golden.

making chana dal 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 recipe

18. stir well and continue to saute.

making chana dal recipe

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

sauting - chana dal recipe

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

making chana dal recipe

21. stir again.

frying - chana dal recipe

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 - chana dal recipe

cooking chana dal to desired consistency

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

stir - chana dal recipe

24. season with salt.

add salt to chana dal recipe

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

simmer - chana dal recipe

26. the dal is neither thick nor thin. but you can keep the consistency thick if you want. if serving chana dal with rice, then medium consistency is preferred. if serving chana dal 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.

chana dal recipe

28. stir finally.

chana dal fry recipe, bengal gram recipe

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

chana dal recipe, chana dal fry recipe


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dassana amit

Founder, Chef, Recipe Developer, Food Photographer >> MORE ABOUT US

namaste and welcome to vegrecipesofindia.com which i started in feb 2009 and is a pure vegetarian blog. i have been passionate about cooking from childhood and began to cook from the age of 10. later having enrolled in a home science degree greatly enhanced my cooking & baking skills and took it to a different level which i now share as foolproof recipes. i was formally trained both in mainstream indian as well as international cuisines.

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171 comments/reviews

  1. Love the recipe. I made it differently. I sautéed tempering mixture first in the pressure cooker and then added the lentils and pressure cooked up to 12 whistles. I also added a pinch of baking powder to make sure the lentils are perfectly cooked.

    • thanks bharat for sharing the method. i also do this way at times. both the methods work. the one-pot method is a quick one. thanks for the rating and review on the chana dal recipe too.

  2. One of my favorite recipes, and I make often, with some variations now and then. I live in Chicago, where fortunately I am able to get the ingredients. Thank you so much for sharing it!

  3. this has become my favourite dal, all those little additions like mango powder and fenugreek really give this dish a wonderful flavour. Thanks for sharing Dassana, my family are also appreciating the results of your recipe, i am going to try many more!

  4. I cooked this Dal, and all the Family members enjoyed the different flavours.
    Thank You so much for making our Stomach this Happy. God Bless You

  5. Every time I think I’ve discovered the best recipe yet, I’m astonished by a new one. This one embarrassed me at work all week because I couldn’t help but moan every time I tasted it. I’m making more this weekend!

  6. I am french, vegetarian, and I like so much your site. I am lucky to live not far away from Strasbourg, (where there is a good Indian store) so I can found all what I need to follow exactly your receipt. It’s a great pleasure to try new receipt and to make discover to my friends the best food all over the world
    Thanks for all.
    loup

    • thanks a lot loup for this lovely comment 🙏. even if you do not get some of the ingredients that are used in indian cooking, then they can be skipped. welcome and happy cooking 🙂

  7. I’ve made this several times and it is really delicious but I can’t quite get the bit where “fat leaves the sides of the masala mixture.” I just can’t get that “oily” look even though I’ve cooked it for longer. Could this be because I’m using olive oil instead of ghee. How long should it take to achieve this oily look. I tried for half an hour.

      • Thanks Dassana. I will try the recipe with ghee and see how it turns out. I am wondering whether temperature has something to do with it too, I have been using a non-stick frypan but don’t think it gets to a high enough temperature and seems to “stew” rather than cook. I might use my copper bottom pan which seems to cook everything perfectly although harder to clean.

      • jeanne, you can also use sunflower oil or peanut oil apart from ghee. i have made many recipes in non stick pans on a low to medium-low flame and i would be able to see the fat leaving the sides of the masala. so i don’t think its due to the non stick pan. you can try in the copper pan also.

  8. Hello Dassana,
    I’ve used many of your recepies for daily cooking. All have turned out so delicious. Thank you so much!!

  9. Hi I have tried many of your recipes and they are great…helped me a lot when Husband and myself got relocated to another country and had to cook all by myself…thanks a lot…

  10. Hi from Madrid (Spain). I love your web and your recipes. I already did three of them: aloo tamatar jhol, masoor dal and chana dal. I want to try your dosas, parathas… there are so many I want to try!!! I have a cooking blog and I recommend your web as the best one for vegeterian indian cooking. I like using different ingredients from those I’m used. Fortunately I can find all the spices here in Madrid. Again, congratulations :))

  11. Dear Dassana,

    This recipe turned out simply fabulous — not too masaledar, but bursting with flavours! ? Served it with paratha, aloo-gobhi sabzi and boondi raita. An all-out Dassana Special Lunch…? Thank you!

    Regards,
    Neeti

  12. I am a big fan of Indian cuisine! The first chana dal I had was about 15 or more years ago when I was a little kid. I was so lucky to have so many Indian Bengali Pakistani neighbors in the compound we lived in with my parents. They always gave us a plate full of their (fresh out of the pot) authentic dishes! Those spices and flavors could never be forgotten. So…. I just bought my dried yellow split peas yesterday and I was thinking, where could I possibly find the best recipe that’ll take me back to my childhood and bring back the memories we had during our lunch and dinner parties in Talat auntie’s and Nasreen auntie’s house?..
    And here I am!
    I never thought I would get that exact same flavor on my first trial in making this dish, as the ones I had years ago, thanks to my friends mom’s for having introduced me to such amazing authentic super delicious food!
    And thank you so so very much Dassana for having shared your recipe with us and the world! This has the most amazing touch of flavors in it, so perfectly balanced, I’ve had it with my self made butter parathas. It was divine!! So heavenly!
    I can’t thank you enough.. For me this is more than just a luscious dish, every step in making this recipe is filled with memories to me.. Thank you so much Dassana <3 🙂 so much!!

    • Welcome Mery. I am so glad and touched to read your comment. I am happy to know that the recipe has brought you the old sweet memories. As they say “food is memories”. Thanks for your kind words. Happy Cooking.

      • Thank you Dassana 🙂
        We’re a family of 2 adults and a child. Everyone had a second plate. Nothing left for tomorrow.
        This will be cooked at least thrice a week in my home from now on.

        Many thanks once again for all your very palatable authentic recipes you’ve shared with us.
        Wishing you a pleasant day/evening.
        ?

  13. The recipe is awesome and I had used many recipes from your site it always turned out great..
    Thanks for each of your recipe?.?

  14. Hi Amit
    All ur recipes are just great.Want to ask u that can we make Donuts using chana dal?
    Pls reply fast.
    Rashmi

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