Chickpea Daal (Indian)

"This is my mother's recipe. There are variations throughout India and this is from Northern India (Punjab). It is actually a relatively easy recipe and can be left unattended for the majority of the time. Make sure to use the best and freshest ingredients available. Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for a few days."
photo by Sandi From CA photo by Sandi From CA
photo by Sandi From CA
photo by Sandi From CA photo by Sandi From CA
Ready In:




  • Wash chickpeas in water.
  • Put chickpeas in fresh water with salt, two parts water to one part chickpeas.
  • Leave overnight to soak.
  • Put chickpeas (with water they were soaked in) into a large pot. Top up water to maintain 2 parts water to 1 part chickpea ratio if necessary. Bring water to a boil.
  • Cover and turn down to medium (level 5) heat, skim off any white foam.
  • Leave to simmer until chickpeas are tender, usually 2 or 3 hours.
  • Take off heat.
  • In a large pot, sauté onions and garlic on high heat, then turn down to (medium-high) level 8.
  • When onions are thoroughly transparent put in ginger.
  • Continue to sauté until mixture is sticking to bottom and brown bits are evident.
  • Put onion mixture in a food processor and mix (not steadily) until smooth.
  • Process tomato, 1/2 tomato portions at a time.
  • Put mixture back into large pot.
  • Add green onion.
  • Heat should be at (medium-high) level 8.
  • When mixture starts to bubble add tomato paste.
  • Stir for 1 to 2 minutes until butter is released and mixture does not stick to pot.
  • Add in potatoes.
  • Add in chana masala.
  • Reduce heat to level 7.
  • Put in chickpeas with a slotted spoon.
  • Water is NOT put in, but put aside for later.
  • Mix for about 2 minutes Add in red pepper, masala.
  • Mix for a further 2 minutes.
  • Add water from chickpeas, additional water can be added to give mixture a watery consistency (mixture should not be too thick looking initially, as mixture will reduce, usually you can add in another cup of water).
  • Add turmeric.
  • Bring mixture to a boiling point on max heat, then reduce heat to level 7. Cover partially and mix infrequently.
  • Once potatoes are tender, the daal is done.
  • This daal is typically eaten with Indian bread- naan or chapati.
  • As with most Indian cooking there is no"true" recipe, the cook decides what the recipe needs (somewhat of a hit and miss strategy, but it works).
  • If you are unable to find garam masala the following can be used: 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, 1/4 teaspoon cracked dried bay leaves, and 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves.

Questions & Replies

  1. Can this be made a few hours before planning to serve? "Until butter is released", when do you add the butter?
  2. If I use canned tomatoes and canned chickpeas what would the amount be instead of fresh
  3. Can this be done in a crock pot?
  4. Can this be done in the crockpot


  1. This is without a doubt the best recipe I have tried from 'zaar to date! I made it exactly as the recipe is written. The spice combination is absolutely fantastic, very traditional Punjab food. I like it quite thin so added more water, served with fresh chapatis. EXCELLENT!!!
  2. An easy way to remove the skin on the tomatoes is to freeze them and then run them under water. The skin comes off easily.
  3. So easy to make. Potatoes should be cooked prior. I added some coconut milk at the very end to increase the flavor. Also used only 4 garlic cloves. This goes to the once-a-month club! Thank you !!
  4. Amazing recipe like in the restaurant I added whole peas too was amazing ??
  5. Just made it today. We did not care for it at all.


  1. Used canned chickpeas, didn't include the water from those cans, but added 1 can of coconut milk instead. Didn't have tomato paste, so used 1tb Ruby Rose Harissa (from Waitrose) plus some creamy tomato soup from Whole Foods. Didn't have chana masala, so used a bit of extra garam marsala.



Find More Recipes