Thursday, February 9, 2012

Chana Dhal-Indian Style Lentils


This type of lentils is called Chana Dhal or split chickpeas and is available at all Indian Grocers.  This is a vegetarian dish that fills you up with healthy fiber and protein.  I actually made it with coconut milk so it's vegan too.

Ingredients at a Glance:
2 1/2 cups of dry Chana Dhal (Lentils)
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 cinnamon stick (1inch long) **do not use powdered cinnamon**
1/2 a large onion chopped
2 serrano chilies diced (seeded for less spiciness)
2Tbs grated ginger
3-4 cloves garlic minced
1Tbs mustard seed
1Tbs cumin seed
small handful of curry leaves (optional)
red chili flakes to taste
1 can (15oz) of diced tomatoes
salt to taste
1 cup of coconut milk

Rinse and soak 2 1/2 cups of dry Chana Dhal for 3 hours in water. The Chana Dhal needs to soak so it can cook easier. You will see after soaking the Channa Dhal will double in size. After it's soaked rinse again and then put in a pot to cook with twice as much water to boil.

Boil the chana dhal with turmeric and a cinnamon stick on medium heat for 30-40 minutes or until the Chana dhal is tender enough to crush in your fingers. In the last few minutes of boiling, add salt to taste so the Chana dhal has some time to absorb it.  Turn off the heat now and start the tempering process

***Use only cinnamon in stick form, not the powdered.

I call the next step "tempering" or it can be called "tarka" in Indian cooking.  It's basically frying spices and herbs to flavor the lentil dish.  Here are the ingredients you will need: onion chopped, serrano chilies diced,  grated ginger and garlic minced, mustard seed, cumin seed, a small handful of curry leaves(available in Indian stores) and one can (15oz) of diced tomatoes or two fresh tomatoes diced. 

Tempering Process:
Once the Chana is cooked to the desired consistency, you can start the tempering process. One medium high heat add  2tbs of oil. Once the oil is heated put in the mustard, cumin seeds and curry leaves.  You will see the seeds spluttering while they release all their flavors. 

Now add the onion, chili, chili flakes,  garlic and ginger and fry.  Then add the tomatoes and fry.

Add the cooked Chana Dhal (there maybe some liquid from the boiling (hopefully not too much). Stir all the ingredients together then add your coconut milk and simmer for a few more minutes. Taste for salt and serve with rice. Enjoy.

Serves 6-8 people Serve it with Rice and other meat and vegetable curries. Enjoy.

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  1. This is such a healthy meal. We love lentils in Greece. This is perfect!

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  3. Ramona this looks delicious. Heading over to see your guest post with Badger Girl. Have a wonderful day.

  4. Oh perfect. I was looking for a good recipe for chana dhal.I will try this one soon.Thanks for all the lovely ideas here!!

  5. This is amazing. Heading over there now.

  6. Mmmm, I love channa dhal! Yours looks amazingly delicious. Will there ever be a day I won't crave what you cook? Oh wait, there was Ambrosia ;)
    Fantastic recipe!

  7. YUMM I want this! Can you just cook for me every day? :)

  8. You've given me something to feed to David's vegan friend--and that I want to eat myself! That's cause for celebration.

  9. Healthy and Yummy dish for sure ,I love the color looks so good !!

  10. This looks wonderful. I didn't know channa was a spice.

  11. What a beautiful color! Thank you for introducing another great blogger. I'll check it out right now. :-)

  12. OK, so I have to tell you a quick story. The other day I got a sitter to wath the kids and my husband and I were going to go to brunch. Instead, we decided to go grocery shopping (the first time without the kids since they've been born.) And we get the the isle with tons of lentils and I start loading up the cart. My husband looks at me like I'm crazy and I told him they were for crafts for the kids. He said ok, but I also knew that I wanted to try some of your lentil reipes, but he wouldn't have bought off on lentils for dinner if I told him. So now, I need to go through all of your recipes and pick one for dinner next week. This one looks really good!

  13. LENTILS. OMG. Before I met my husband, I thought they only came in the brown version w/ Canadian bacon or ham cooked w/ it. I LOVE this stuff, and I have to say, Indian cuisine has PERFECTED it. :)

  14. Dals are a part of our everyday dinner but this dal is a regular. Its creamy and so delicious.

  15. We love Indian food at our house. I am really excited to try this recipe. Now all I have to do is find the curry leaves. Hopefully one of the Indian or Asian markets in my area will carry them.


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