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Chana Dal / Split Chickpea Dal

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Chana dal recipe - is a split chickpea spicy, healthy dal perfect for any day of the week. Packed with flavor, this is the perfect way to get your kids to eat a healthy meal. This dal pairs well with a side of rice or roti. You can mix and match to find your perfect pairings to turn this into a wholesome, hearty meal you and your family will adore. 1 min. video recipe.

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Instant Pot Chana Dal Recipe

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What is Chana Dal?

Chana dal are brown, split chickpeas that have had their husks removed. The dal is served with a tempering of spices and goes great with rice or roti. It can be made into a curry or as part of a soup.

The split chickpeas have a bit of a nutty, earthy flavor. Chana dal is our family favorite and an easy meal to make just about any night of the week.

How is Chana Dal different from chickpeas, Toor Dal and Mung Dal 

Chana dal has a slightly different texture and flavor compared to regular chickpeas. They also have their husks removed.

Toor dal uses split pigeon peas and mung dal uses split yellow lentils. They all have similar coloration, but they differ in texture and flavor.

chana dal recipe

Why you will love this Chana Dal recipe

Chana dal is very easy to make, which makes it a perfect weeknight dinner. Since it uses split chickpeas, it is high in fiber, which makes it very healthy. The added fiber helps you feel satisfied and feel fuller for longer.

The recipe cooks up easily in the Instant Pot. But if you don’t have the Instant Pot, you can definitely make it on the stove top too.

Kids love the flavors of this chana dal, which makes it a great way to get them to eat a healthy meal any day of the week.

chana dal ingredients

Chana Dal Ingredients

When you are ready to make this chana dal recipe, make sure you have the following ingredients at home.

  • Split chickpeas - You’ll need to soak and drain them.
  • Onion - You can use yellow or white.
  • Tomato - You can use plum or cherry tomatoes.
  • Oil or ghee - You should use oil for a vegan option.
  • Green chilies
  • Ginger garlic paste
  • Water 
  • Salt
  • Spices - You’ll need turmeric, red chili powder, coriander powder, garam masala, asafoetida, and cumin seeds

For the tempering, you’ll need:

  • Ghee or oil - You’ll need to use oil for a vegan option.
  • Red onion - In a pinch, a white onion would also work.
  • Garlic cloves - You’ll want to slice them thinly.

Finally, for the garnish, you’ll need:

  • Fresh cilantro
  • Lemon wedges

How to make Instant Pot Chana Dal

When you are ready to make chana dal in the Instant Pot, here’s what you need to do.

First, prepare the ingredients. As you prep, wash and soak the chana dal in hot water until the other ingredients are ready.

step by step recipe for chana dal

Next, heat the oil in the Instant Pot using the Sautee function. Once the oil is hot, throw in the asafetida, cumin seeds, and green chillies. Stir until they are aromatic.

When the spices are ready, add the onions, tomatoes, and ginger garlic paste and sauté until the color changes. Next, add the tomatoes, turmeric, red chili powder, coriander powder, garam masala, water, and salt and give it all a stir.

Once they are combined, close the lid and pressure cook on normal heat for 12 minutes. When the timer goes off, allow it to naturally release the pressure.

step by step chana dal recipe

After the dal is ready, heat the tempering oil or ghee in a small saucepan. Once the oil is hot, add in the red onions and garlic cloves and cook until the edges start browning.

Carefully open the lid to the Instant Pot and give the dal a light whisk, while trying to avoid smashing the dal and then add the tempering to the chana dal.

Finally, garnish with cilantro and add a little fresh lemon juice before serving with rice, roti, lemon wedges, or a chopped salad.

chana dal tadka

Stovetop Chana Dal

If you don’t have an Instant Pot, you can follow these instructions for cooking on the stove top.

Before beginning, soak the dal in warm water for about an hour. After an hour, prepare your other ingredients.

To start, heat the oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, throw in the asafetida, cumin seeds, and green chillies. Stir until they are aromatic.

When the spices are ready, add the onions, tomatoes, and ginger garlic paste and sauté until the color changes. Next, add the tomatoes, turmeric, red chili powder, coriander powder, garam masala, dal, water, and salt and give it all a stir.

Once they are combined, place a lid on the pot and simmer on medium-low heat for about 45 minutes or until the dal is tender.

After the dal is ready, heat the tempering oil or ghee in a small saucepan. Once the oil is hot, add in the red onions and garlic cloves and cook until the edges start browning.

Carefully open the lid and give the dal a light stirring and then add the tempering to the chana dal.

Finally, garnish with cilantro and add a little fresh lemon juice before serving with rice, roti, lemon wedges, or a chopped salad.

chana dal recipe

Pro tips and tricks

For the best chana dal, check out these helpful tips:

  • If you make the recipe on the stove top, make sure to soak the dal for at least an hour beforehand.
  • Don’t overcook the dal in the Instant Pot. It only needs 12 minutes in the Instant Pot.
  • Use your favorite spice combinations to make the chana dal taste the way you like it to.

Do I have to soak the dal?

You don’t have to soak the chickpeas for very long. You can soak them until you have prepared the other ingredients.

If you prefer, you could soak them for an hour or more. But with the Instant Pot, this is not necessary. If you use the stove top version, we recommend soaking for at least an hour. Ideally soaking eases digestion. 

chana dal with rice

What do I pair chana dal with

We love to serve this recipe alongside some of our other favorite recipes. Some of our favorite pairings include:

Is it vegan and gluten free?

You can easily make this Instant Pot chana dal recipe vegan. To make it vegan, just use oil instead of ghee. 

This recipe is gluten free if you skip adding the asafoetida, which makes it great for people with a gluten sensitivity.

Recipe variations    

You can change around some of the seasonings to make a slightly different flavor. For more information on how different Indian spices taste together, you can check out our Indian Spices Guide. It is full of information on how the different spices taste so you can make different flavor combinations.

chana dal with basmati rice

Serving suggestions

Chana dal works great with rice and roti. Both of these help to absorb some of the gravy and allow you to enjoy all the extra flavors. They also help make it even more filling. 

You can follow this homemade roti recipe. If you need tips on making rice, you can follow our basmati rice recipe.

Meal prepping

If you want to make this chana dal recipe on a busy night, you can do the prep work on a night you have some free time. You can chop the onions and tomatoes and measure out the spices you’ll need.

You can then place them in individual containers and store them in the fridge so they are ready to go when you want to make the meal.

This is also a great meal to fully make ahead. You can then store it and reheat it throughout the week for a fast lunch or dinner. Just make any rice you serve it with the night you make it for the best tasting rice.

Storing suggestions

If you have left overs or make this meal ahead, you can store the chana dal in an airtight container. If you have left over rice, do not store with the chana dal, and instead place it in its own container.

You can store in the fridge for about 4 to 6 days. When you are ready to eat, you can reheat in the microwave.

You can also freeze the recipe. To freeze, place the cooled meal in a freezer safe container. You can freeze the recipe for about 6 months. To reheat, allow it to thaw and then reheat in the microwave.

chana dal

Other dals you will love

If you love this recipe, then you should check out some of our other favorites. Here are some of our favorite recipes you should try this week:

Let us know what you think

If you make our Chana Dal, don’t forget to let us know what you think and how you served them! Be sure to take a pic and tag us on Instagram @dbellyrulesdmind or Facebook @thebellyrulesthemind!

Chana Dal Recipe

Chana Dal / Split Chickpea Dal Recipe

Chana Dal / Split Chickpea Dal Recipe

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 8 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Chana dal recipe - is a split chickpea spicy, healthy dal perfect for any day of the week. Packed with flavor, this is the perfect way to get your kids to eat a healthy meal. This dal pairs well with a side of rice or roti. You can mix and match to find your perfect pairings to turn this into a wholesome, hearty meal you and your family will adore. 1 min. video recipe.

Ingredients

  • Chana Dal / split chickpeas 1 cup (soaked and drained)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • Tomato 1, finely chopped
  • Oil / ghee 1 tbsp
  • Green chilies, slit into halves 2
  • Ginger garlic paste, 1 tsp
  • Water 2 cups
  • salt to taste

Spices

  • Turmeric ½ tsp
  • Red chili powder ½ tsp
  • Coriander powder 1/ tsp
  • Garam masala ½ tsp
  • ¼ tsp asafoetida
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds

Tempering

  • 2 tbsp ghee or oil
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

Garnish

  • Fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Lemon wedge

Instructions

Instant Pot Chana Dal

When you are ready to make chana dal in the Instant Pot, here’s what you need to do.

First, prepare the ingredients. As you prep, wash and soak the chana dal in hot water until the other ingredients are ready.

Next, heat the oil in the Instant Pot using the Sautee function. Once the oil is hot, throw in the asafetida, cumin seeds, and green chillies. Stir until they are aromatic.

When the spices are ready, add the onions, tomatoes, and ginger garlic paste and sauté until the color changes. Next, add the tomatoes, turmeric, red chili powder, coriander powder, garam masala, water, and salt and give it all a stir.

Once they are combined, close the lid and pressure cook on normal heat for 12 minutes. When the timer goes off, allow it to naturally release the pressure.

After the dal is ready, heat the tempering oil or ghee in a small saucepan. Once the oil is hot, add in the red onions and garlic cloves and cook until the edges start browning.

Carefully open the lid to the Instant Pot and give the dal a light whisk, while trying to avoid smashing the dal and then add the tempering to the chana dal.

Finally, garnish with cilantro and add a little fresh lemon juice before serving with rice, roti, lemon wedges, or a chopped salad.

Stovetop Chana Dal

If you don’t have an Instant Pot, you can follow these instructions for cooking on the stove top.

Before beginning, soak the dal in warm water for about an hour. After an hour, prepare your other ingredients.

To start, heat the oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, throw in the asafetida, cumin seeds, and green chillies. Stir until they are aromatic.

When the spices are ready, add the onions, tomatoes, and ginger garlic paste and sauté until the color changes. Next, add the tomatoes, turmeric, red chili powder, coriander powder, garam masala, dal, water, and salt and give it all a stir.

Once they are combined, place a lid on the pot and simmer on medium-low heat for about 45 minutes or until the dal is tender.

After the dal is ready, heat the tempering oil or ghee in a small saucepan. Once the oil is hot, add in the red onions and garlic cloves and cook until the edges start browning.

Carefully open the lid and give the dal a light stirring and then add the tempering to the chana dal.

Finally, garnish with cilantro and add a little fresh lemon juice before serving with rice, roti, lemon wedges, or a chopped salad.

Notes

  • If you make the recipe on the stove top, make sure to soak the dal for at least an hour beforehand.
  • Don’t overcook the dal in the Instant Pot. It only needs 12 minutes in the Instant Pot.
  • Use your favorite spice combinations to make the chana dal taste the way you like it to.

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