Authentic Chana Dal Recipe – Pakistani Dal Fry

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Easy Chana Dal Recipe - Authentic Pakistani Chana Dal Fry

Dhaba style chana dal recipe is a semi-dry, thick and spicy lentil curry that is incredibly delicious. It is widely enjoyed for its nutty texture and numerous health benefits. Making Dal Chana is yet easy and quick. Pre boiled dal is cooked together with onion tomato gravy (masala). Lastly, flavorful tarka makes it more delicious. Only takes 30 minutes to cook and serve it with rice, roti, nana, riata and salads. 

What is Chana dal ?

This is one of the famous lentil dishes of India and Pakistan region. The lentil is going to use in this curry, also known as split chickpeas, yellow split peas or Bengal gram. it is a spilt version of whole chick peas. “Chana dal” is a Hindi term that serves a dual purpose: a specific type of lentil and the dish name, prepared from these lentils.

Generally, this authentic dal curry becomes both spicy and a bit sweet in taste after cooking with bold spices and herbs. It is usually creamy and smooth in texture, with a slightly thick consistency.

The preparation begins with soaking and boiling the yellow split peas lentil until 80% tender. A rich base of gravy is crafted using a blend of different spices and herbs, along with onions and tomatoes. Boiled dal is then gently folded into this savory gravy or masala. Later dal is simmered on low heat until tender. A final touch of tadka (tempering) doubles the taste. 

Chana dal fry

This Indian lentil Recipe is fully packed with various fiber, protein and nutrients which are essential for a good health. It also stands out as not only naturally gluten-free and vegan, but also as a versatile ingredient in many Indian and Pakistani dishes such as Dal tadka, Dal palak and Dal Chicken. Dal mash is also a world-famous curry.

This tasty and protein-rich dal dish is definitely good for health and weight loss. Due to its high fiber and protein content, which can help in feeling full longer and manage hunger. It also helps to manage blood pressure as well.

Whenever I cooked dal chana in Lahori restaurant style with black pepper, my dad scooped it up with a spoon without any roti and rice. He loves it a lot every time, and I was wondering why he enjoys it so much.

Leave it; it is an unsolved mystery for me till now. Many guests and customers appreciated me after enjoying this easy lentil curry recipe. I hope you will also love this recipe and become a staple dish of your weekly menu. 😊

chana dal recipe

Dal Fry Ingredients

This traditional dal curry preparation requires only pantry essential ingredients. This is a quick and hassle-free lentil stew recipe, utilizing everyday ingredients. Let’s explore what we need in it. 

chana dal ingredients

  • Dal Chana – For the perfect restaurant style Indian dal fry, we need fresh one cup of dal and soak it for at least 45 minutes. Soaking is key to achieving a perfect soft texture of dal. It also reduces the cooking time. It is also protein-rich dal, best suitable for vegetarian.
  • Onion – Any Pakistani dish can’t be cooked without onion. Take one large onion (about 100g). Peel the outer cover of the onion and cut it into two halves. Now chop it into thin slices for the base of the masala or gravy. 
  • Tomato – We need only two medium-sized ripped red tomatoes (100g). Prep: Wash and make a fine puree in a blander by adding small amount of water.
  • Garlic and Ginger – Adds a pungent, earthy taste that becomes sweeter and milder when cooked. So, we have to add one table spoon of each. Or you can mince one-inch piece of ginger (20g) and 10 to 12 cloves of garlic. You can also use ginger garlic paste as well. 
  • Green Chilies – Take 2 -3 green chilies are enough to add natural heat. Wash them properly and chopped them.
  • Ground Spices – All basic kitchen spices will go in this recipe like salt, red chili powder, turmeric, cumin, coriander and garam masala Powder. These seasoning are enough but you can also add black pepper instead of garam masala and red chili powder.
  • Oil – Any type of natural oil or ghee is best for this recipe. I am using here season cooking oil and ghee for cook and tadka as well. 
  • Fresh Coriander leaves – Feel free to go with either fresh coriander leaves or kasuri methi for garnishing at the end. You can also add both of them if available in kitchen.
  • For Tadka/Traka – We need cumin seed, sliced cut ginger and garlic, dry red chili and ghee.

How To Make Chana Dal Recipe

There are several ways to cook daal chana recipe easily at home. You can prefer either using a traditional pan, Instant Pot, or a pressure cooker. The choice is yours based on what you have available in your kitchen. I am going to use traditional pan method and I will also try to describe others shortly.

Soak the Daal – Soaking is important because it helps the dal absorb moisture, making it softer. This reduces cooking time and makes it easier to cook. Soak one cup split chickpea lentil for at least 45 minutes. If you don’t soak them cook it for more time.

Rinse The Dal – After soaking, rinse the dal in a large bowl under running water. Use your fingers to wash it 4 to 5 times until the water is clearer or less milky. Now Drain the water properly.

soak-dal-and-resin

Boil The Dal – Add one cup of channa dal in in 3 cups of water in a deep bowl and cook it for 20 to 30 minutes over medium heat. Always skim off the foam that forms on the surface of the dal while boiling. If you are using pressure cooker then cook it for 3 to 4 whistles.

boil-the-dal

Drain the Dal – Once it is cooked. For checking purpose, take one or two pieces of dal and press it in between your thumb and forefinger. If the dal breaks without any resistance or grainy feel, it is fully cooked, and drains it now. It should not be mushy. 

boiled-da-is-ready

Make Masala

Saute the Onion – Take a deep large pan and saute the onion over medium heat in preheated oil. It normally takes 4-5 minutes.  

Saute the onion

Add Ginger Garlic – Add ginger garlic to pan and keep stirring until raw smell goes way (for one minute). Add splash of water if it sticks to pan. Keep cooking until onion are light brown.

add ginger garlic

Tomato Puree – Next add homemade tomato puree to the pan and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until it mixes well with the onion and herbs. Please maintain the temperature on medium flame while cooking.

Add tomato puree

Ground spice – It is time to add all ground spices expect garam masala, which we will add at the end. Mix them well and keep stirring constantly. Deglaze the pan with a splash of water, if spices stick to the bottom of the pan.

add spices

Add Dal – When the oil begins to separate and bubbles form in the masala, it means the masala is ready. Now it’s time to impart our boiled dal to the pan. Mix it with masala together by stirring continuously.

add chana dal

Water – Add Half cup of water and allow it to simmer with masala and absorb all the flavors and taste at medium to low heat. Or adjust the dal consistency as per your liking. Don’t forget to add green chili as well.

simmer it

Black Pepper – Once it begins to thicken, add our black pepper or garam masala and mix it well. It will make it more aromatic.

add black pepper

Fresh Coriander Leaves – Once the daal is ready add chopped coriander leaves or Kasoori Methi. Stir them well and sever it hot.  

add kasoori methi

Tarka – This step is optional. In a small pot, heat 3 to 4 tablespoons of ghee. Then add ginger, garlic, and dry red chilies and fry until they become aromatic. We will add cumin seeds at the end otherwise it will burn. Mix them well and pour it on the dal. Your dal is now read to eat.

Instant Pot Dal Chana Recipe

Cooking delicious daal chana in instant pot is easy and quick by following few simple steps. 

  • Press saute mode after turning on the instant pot.
  • Heat 3 tablespoons oil in the instant pot and combine sliced onion in it. Stir fry until onion is slight light brown. 
  • Add minced ginger garlic to the pot and saute it for 30 seconds. Next, add tomato puree and ground spices in instant pot and simmer until oil separates.
  • Combine pre-soaked and drained dal in the pan and saute for 3 minutes while stirring regularly.
  • Pour two and a half cups of water into the pan and stir all ingredients well.
  • Secure the instant pot with a lid and close the pressure valve. Set 10 to 12 minutes timer at high pressure.
  • Let the pressure drop naturally or wait for 12 to 15 minutes. Then release the pressure. After that, open the lid and check the dal consistency. It should be soft but not mushy. 
  • Adjust salt and spice levels after the taste test. If the dal is runny, cook it until thick. 
  • Add garam masala and kasuri methi to enhance the taste and garnish it with chopped coriander leaves. 

How to Serve Dal Chana Fry?

There are several combinations to enjoy this delicious and spicy Punjabi style vegan lentil curry. Some of them are below. 

  1. With Roti—Enjoy this chana daal with soft and warm tandoori roti, buttery garlic naan, phulka, paratha, and any type of flat bread. 
  2. With Rice – Jeera rice, brown steamed rice, pilua rice are incredibly pair well with this homemade dal recipe.
  3. With Riata – Any type of the yogurt riata is compulsive with it (in my opinion).
  4. With salads – Any type of vegetable salad bowl complements it and balance the diet beautifully.
  5. With Lemon and Pickles – To add more tangy and zesty notes squeeze a lemon wedge and add mix pickles in your plate.

How to Store and Reheat

Storing: Always cock enough lentil stew that consumed in the same day. If I talk about storing leftover chana, cool it down at room temperature first. Then place yellow split pea curry in airtight container and store for 2 to 3 days in the fridge.

Reheat: Utilize the microwave oven or stovetop to reheat this dal curry properly on medium heat. Add water to adjust the dal’s consistency. Stir well and adjust spice level as well.

Variations

As you know, this is a versatile dish. One can easily make many other dishes by adding different ingredients. There are some famous dishes which are made using dal chana.

  1. Dal Palak (Spinach) – Add blanched palak in the cooked dal.
  2. Lauki with Dal chana – include lauki with dal chana and cook it together.
  3. Aloo Dal – Add aloo and dal and cook it.
  4. Dal Chicken – Add chicken with dal to enjoy delicious combo
  5. Dal with Eggplant – Impart fried or roasted eggplant pieces to the cooked dal channa.
  6. Dal Khichdi – combine yellow split pea with rice and cook.

FAQs

How many calories are in this dal curry?

A single serving contains about 100 to 150 calories. But this can vary depending on which spices are used and which cooking techniques is used to cook this dal. 

What is difference between chana dal and dal tadka.

In this recipe we uses only dal chana, while dal tadka combines three types of dal – toor, masoor, and chana. Dal tadka is finished with a tempering just before serving, which isn’t required for chana dal curry.

Is chana good for weight loss?

Yes, chana is definitely good for health and weight loss. Due to its high fiber and protein content, which can help in feeling full longer and manage hunger. It also helps to manage blood pressure as well.

Is this curry spicy?

Yes this is a spicy and a bit sweet in taste and thick in consistency. But you can change it according to you liking by adjusting increasing or decreasing red chili powder and green chilis.

Chana dal Recipe

This split chickpea recipe is a semi-dry, thick and spicy lentil curry that is incredibly delicious. It is Only takes 30 minutes to cook and serve it with rice, roti, nana, riata and salads. 
Prep Time1 hour 15 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time35 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian, Pakistanti
Keyword: chana dal recipe, dal chana fry, one pot lentil stew
Servings: 5 Servings
Calories: 340kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Dal Chana
  • 5-6 Tablespoons Oil
  • 1 Large Onion (100g)
  • 2 medium Tomatoes (100-120g)
  • 1 Tablespoon Minced Ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
  • 2-3 pieces Green Chilies
  • 2 Tablespoons Chopped Coriander leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon Kasuri Methi
  • 1&⅓ Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Red chili Powder
  • ½ Teaspoon Black Pepper powder
  • ½ Teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Coriander Powder
  • ½ Teaspoon Cumin powder

For Tadka

  • 3-4 Tablespoons oil
  • 1 Teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 Teaspoon sliced Ginger
  • 1 Teaspoon sliced garlic
  • 2-3 pieces Dry Red Chilies

Instructions

  • Soak the Daal – Soaking is important because it helps the dal absorb moisture, making it softer. This reduces cooking time and makes it easier to cook. Soak one cup split chickpea lentil for at least 45 minutes. If you don’t soak them cook it for more time.
  • Rinse The Dal – After soaking, rinse the dal in a large bowl under running water. Use your fingers to wash it 4 to 5 times until the water is clearer or less milky. Now Drain the water properly.
    soak-dal-and-resin
  • Boil The Dal – Add one cup of channa dal in in 3 cups of water in a deep bowl and cook it for 20 to 30 minutes over medium heat. Always skim off the foam that forms on the surface of the dal while boiling. If you are using pressure cooker then cook it for 3 to 4 whistles.
    boil-the-dal
  • Drain the Dal – Once it is cooked. For checking purpose, take one or two pieces of dal and press it in between your thumb and forefinger. If the dal breaks without any resistance or grainy feel, it is fully cooked, and drains it now. It should not be mushy.

Make Masala

  • Saute the Onion – Take a deep large pan and saute the onion over medium heat in preheated oil. It normally takes 4-5 minutes.
    Saute the onion
  • Add Ginger Garlic – Add ginger garlic to pan and keep stirring until raw smell goes way (for one minute). Add splash of water if it sticks to pan. Keep cooking until onion are light brown.
    add ginger garlic
  • Tomato Puree – Next add homemade tomato puree to the pan and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until it mixes well with the onion and herbs. Please maintain the temperature on medium flame while cooking.
    Add tomato puree
  • Ground spice – It is time to add all ground spices expect garam masala, which we will add at the end. Mix them well and keep stirring constantly. Deglaze the pan with a splash of water, if spices stick to the bottom of the pan.
    add spices
  • Add Dal – When the oil begins to separate and bubbles form in the masala, it means the masala is ready. Now it’s time to impart our boiled dal to the pan. Mix the it with masala together by stirring continuously.
    add chana dal
  • Water – Add Half cup of water and allow it to simmer with masala and absorb all the flavors and taste at medium to low heat. Or adjust the dal consistency as per your liking. Don't forget to add green chili as well.
    simmer it
  • Black Pepper – Once the dal begins to thicken, add our black pepper or garam masala and mix it well. It will make it more aromatic.
    add black pepper
  • Fresh Coriander Leaves – Once the daal is ready add chopped coriander leaves or Kasoori Methi. Stir them well and sever it hot. 
    add kasoori methi
  • Tarka – This step is optional. In a small pot, heat 3 to 4 tablespoons of ghee. Then add ginger, garlic, and dry red chilies and fry until they become aromatic. We will add cumin seeds at the end otherwise it will burn. Mix them well and pour it on the dal. Your dal is now read to eat.
    make bhaagar or tadka
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