Punjabi chana dal recipe, just like my mom made growing up! This hearty, protein-packed, comforting dal is made with split bengal gram, onion, tomato, and few Indian spices. It’s easy to make and perfect for healthy dinner when served with rice.
I am sharing two methods: (1) Traditional stove-top method (2) Instant pot chana dal
So what makes the best chana dal fry? Well, the first typical Punjabi onion-tomato masala is made as a base of this dal. Do you have my frozen onion tomato masala ready in the freezer? Skip the frying onion tomato step and instead use the ready frozen chunk of masala.
Second, the addition of tadka or tempering at the end gives a nice aroma of curry leaves and of course adds a ton of flavor.
What you need
Here’s what you need for this chana dal recipe. It looks like too many ingredients but trust me it is very easy to make.
Do I need to soak chana dal before cooking?
Soaking chana dal is recommended but not required. It is a kind of lentil which needs more cooking time compared to other lentils. So it is a
If you are in rush then skip the soaking step and cook for some more minutes. And you are good to go.
How to make Chana Dal (Stove Top)?
1) Take dal in a colander. wash it under running cold water till water runs clear.
2) Soak in enough water for at least 30 minutes. More soaking time will not hurt.
3) Now discard the cooking water. take dal in a
4) Cover the pressure cooker and put the weight on. Turn the heat on medium. Let it cook for 6-7 whistles. Let the pressure go down by itself. Then open the lid. Dal should be soft. Keep it aside.
5) Heat the oil in a pan on medium heat. Once hot add ginger paste, garlic paste,
6) Then add chopped onions. Cook till they become translucent.
7) Mix in chopped tomatoes and cook till they get soft.
8) Add turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, garam masala, and salt.
9) Mix well. Saute for a minute.
10) Add cooked dal with its water. If needed add extra water and make runny consistency. Let it come to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes.
11) Meanwhile, prepare the
12) Add curry leaves and dried red chili.
13) Add the tempering to the dal. Add lemon juice or lime juice and mix.
14) Remove it to a serving bowl.
You probably have all the ingredients in your pantry as this recipe requires very basic ingredients. So what are you waiting for? Get in your kitchen and make it today.
Instant Pot Chana Dal Recipe Video
How to cook chana dal in a pan if do not have preesure cooker?
- Soak the dal for 30 minutes to 1 hour. More soaking time results in less cooking time on the stove.
- Take ½ cup dal and 2 cups of water in a saucepan and bring it to a boil.
- Then cover partially and let it simmer on low-medium till dal gets soft.
- While cooking you may need to add more water as the
waterdries up. Do stir and check in between the water amount.
Chana Dal Recipe
- 1 cup Chana dal (Split bengal gram)
- 2 ½ cups Water for stovetop (2 cups water for instant pot)
- 1 tablespoon Oil
- 1 teaspoon Ginger paste or freshly grated or crushed
- 1 teaspoon Garlic paste or freshly grated
- 1 Green chilies chopped finely
- 1 cup Onion chopped
- 1 cup Tomato chopped
- 1 ½ teaspoon Red chili powder
- 1 ½ teaspoon Coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon Turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon Garam masala
- ½ teaspoon Lemon juice or lime juice
- 2 tablespoons Cilantro or coriander leaves chopped finely
For tadka (tempering)
- 1 tablespoon Oil
- 1 teaspoon Mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon Cumin seeds
- ¼ teaspoon Hing
- 8-10 Curry leaves
- 2 Dried red chilies broken into two pieces
- Wash the dal under running cold water till water runs clear. Or rinse 2-3 times or till the water is not cloudy anymore.
- Soak the dal in enough water for at least 30 minutes or more. Then discard the soaking water.
Making on the stovetop:
- Take soaked dal, water, salt and a pinch of turmeric powder in a pressure cooker.
- Cover the pressure cooker with the lid and put the weight on. Let it cook for 6-7 whistles on medium heat.
- Let the pressure go down by itself. Then open the lid. Dal should be soft.
- Heat the oil in a pan on medium heat. Once hot add ginger paste, garlic paste, and green chilies and cook for a minute.
- Then add chopped onions. and cook till they become translucent.
- Mix in chopped tomatoes and cook till they get soft.
- Mix in Add turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, garam masala, and salt. Saute for a minute.
- Add cooked dal with its water. If needed add extra water and make runny consistency.
- Let it come to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Add tadka on top as mentioned below and lemon juice.
Making in instant pot:
- Turn on the instant pot with saute mode. Once hot add oil.
- Add onion, ginger, garlic, and green chili. Sprinkle some salt to speed up the process. Mix and saute till onions become soft and light pink in color.
- Then add tomatoes and cook till they are soft and mushy.
- Then add remaining salt, red chili powder, coriander powder, and turmeric powder. Mix well and cook for 20-30 seconds.
- Add soaked dal and water. Stir well.
- Cover with the lid, keep the vent to sealing position. Pressure cook on manual (high pressure) for 10 minutes. If skipped the soaking step, then cook for 13-15 minutes.
- Let the pressure release naturally (NPR). Once the pin drops then open the lid.
- Add tadka as mentioned below. Add garam masala and lemon juice. Mix well.
- Garnish with chopped cilantro.
- on the stove heat the oil in a small pan on medium heat. Once hot add mustard seeds. Let them pop.
- Then add cumin seeds and let them sizzle.
- Add hing, curry leaves, and dried red chili.
- Immediately add the tempering to the dal, mix and serve.
- Soaking the chana dal is not required. But it is recommended. If you have skipped the soaking step then you may need to cook the dal a few minutes more.
- I prefer the soft dal yet hold its shape. If you prefer the mushy version then you can cook a few minutes more to make it mushy.
- The water amount may vary depending on the dal consistency you prefer. The above measurements give medium-thick consistency. If you like thin add more water.
- You see, everything is customizable. Adjust as per your and your family’s liking (soft or mushy, spicy or less spicy, thin or thick dal).