Prep 15 mins
Cook 45 mins
Posted in response to a request. Channa dal, also called Bengal gram dal, is related to chickpeas, but is smaller and split. It has a sweet, nutty flavour, and a low glycemic index. Looking just like yellow split peas, it is the most popular dal in India. This recipe produces a mild-tasting dal, which goes beautifully with Lemon Rice with Dals #84304. Please only use fresh or frozen curry leaves, not dried :-)
- 1 1⁄2 cups channa dal
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 10 -12 fresh curry leaves
- 1 -2 dried red chili
- 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 inch piece cinnamon stick
- 3 cloves
- 2 green cardamom pods, crushed
- 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
- 1 pinch asafoetida powder
- 1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk
- 2 1⁄2 cups water
- sea salt, to taste
- cilantro leaf, to garnish
- Rinse the lentils well in cold water, then drain.
- Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based, preferably non-stick, saucepan and saute the onion and garlic with the curry leaves, chili and mustard seeds, until golden and fragrant.
- Add the drained lentils, turmeric, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom pods, fenugreek, asafetida powder and coconut milk.
- Mix well, then add the water.
- Bring to the boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer gently for 40 minutes, or longer if necessary. Stir occasionally to ensure the dal does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
- You may choose to increase the cooking temperature, and/or partially uncover the dal towards the end of the cooking time, if you prefer your dal with less fluid (as I do), rather than 'soupy'.
- When the dal is soft, season to taste with sea salt. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with curry dishes and rice or parathas.
My family loves this recipe. So comforting on a cold night, and easy on the digestion! I find if I remember to soak the channa dal ahead of time (for a couple of hours), it doesn't take quite so long to soften in the cooking. I live at a high altitude, so that probably contributes to the amount of cooking time. I served this with saag paneer and it was great, though I also find it enough just to have with some fresh hot basmati rice. Thanks Daydream!
This is a nice dish. My channa dal took almost an hour to cook, but it was the first time I have cooked them so it was interesting. I changed the way things were put into the pan a little bit: I put in the mustard seeds, curry leaves and dried chilies first but my chilies burned, and I was afraid it would make the dish bitter, so I removed them and subbed chili powder. After the mustard seeds popped, I added the onion and garlic. Next time I will also add the other spices for a minutes before I add the lentils and coconut milk, to fry them a little. All in all very tasty and pretty easy. Thanks!