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Janet's Bulgur and Chana Dal Pilaf

Janet M. Lafler adapted this recipe from Madhur Jaffrey's World-of-the-East Vegetarian Cooking (Alfred A. Knopf, 1983), page 154. That recipe is for "Pilaf of Bulgar Wheat and Red Lentils," or masoor dal.


  • 3/4 cup chana dal
  • One large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic (or more, to taste), minced or pressed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup bulgur wheat
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or less, to taste)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley or cilantro
  • freshly ground black pepper

Soak chana dal for 10-12 hours. Drain and rinse.

Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until soft (5-8 minutes). Add drained chana dal and bulgur wheat. Sauté for about 3 more minutes, until bulgur wheat is browned (it will begin to smell heavenly). Add all remaining ingredients except pepper, bring to a boil, and lower heat.

Simmer, covered, for about 35 minutes. At this point, check to see if the chana dal is tender enough for you. If not add a quarter cup more water and simmer another few minutes or until you are satisfied. Turn off heat and let sit, covered, for at least 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and mix in pepper.

Makes about 6 cups.

I love it with nothing more than hot sauce. Janet says that she has eaten it with "a big green salad, steamed zucchini, and some crumbled up reduced-fat cheese" and also recommends it with a Greek salad. Madhur Jaffrey writes, "We often have this pilaf for brunch with some goat cheese, sliced red-ripe tomatoes dressed with olive oil and lemon juice, and some olives."

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Last modified: January 11, 2001

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