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chana dal recipe, punjabi chana dal fry recipe

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

4.63 from 45 votes
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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:

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, punjabi chana dal fry recipe
4.63 from 45 votes

chana dal recipe

chana dal fry recipe - punjabi style bengal gram lentils tempered & flavored with indian spices.
course main course
cuisine north indian
prep time 15 minutes
cook time 15 minutes
total time 30 minutes
servings 3 to 4 servings
author dassana amit

ingredients (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

  1. pick and rinse the chana dal well in running water. 

  2. soak the dal in enough water for an hour.

  3. drain the lentils and add them to the pressure cooker along with turmeric powder. add 2.5 to 3 cups water and stir well.

  4. on a high flame, pressure cook the lentils for 7 to 8 whistles or more, till the dal is softened and well cooked. 

  5. keep the cooked chana dal aside.

making chana dal

  1. in another pan, heat oil or ghee.

  2. add the cumin first and fry for a few seconds till they splutter.

  3. then add the garlic and fry till they become light brown.

  4. now add the onions and fry till they get golden.

  5. now add the tomatoes, ginger and green chili.

  6. stir and add all the dry spice powders - turmeric powder, red chili powder, garam masala powder, asafoetida, dry mango powder and coriander powder.

  7. saute till the tomatoes get cooked and the oil starts to leave the side of the mixture.

  8. add the kasoori methi and stir.

  9. pour the cooked chana dal along with its stock to the sauteed masala mixture or vice versa. season with salt.

  10. stir and simmer the dal for 6-8 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.

recipe notes

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

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 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.

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

dassana amit
Founder, Designer, Recipe Developer, Food Photographer ||

i started in feb 2009. it is a pure vegetarian blog and shares recipes with step by step photos that will help you to make delicious and tasty vegetarian food easily.

i am passionate about cooking from childhood and learnt cooking from my elders. having a home science degree surely enhanced my cooking & baking skills which i now share as fool proof recipes on the blog. i am trained both in mainstream indian as well as international cuisines.


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154 comments/reviews

  1. 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.

    • 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 🙂

  2. 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.

    • jeanne is could be due to the olive oil. it depends on the viscosity of oil or fat used. it takes about 7 to 8 minutes after adding tomatoes.

      • 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.

  3. Thank you for the recipe, made it today and it was yummy.

    • welcome rannie

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

    • Welcome Smita. Glad to know this.

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