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Chana Chole


Thanks to Rose Lulla for sharing one of her family's favorite recipes, chole. Usually made with chick peas (garbanzo beans), it is just as tasty and even healthier made with chana dal as it is adapted here.


  • 1 cup dry chana dal
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 Tablespoons ghee or oil
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala1
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 fresh green chili, seeded and sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh mint or coriander
  • lemon juice to taste


Soak chana dal in cold water to cover overnight, or better still, for 24 hours. Drain, rinse and put the chana dal with just enough water to cover in a pressure cooker or heavy saucepan. Add salt and bay leaves and cook until just tender, about 20 minutes in pressure cooker. Drain, reserving liquid.

Heat ghee or oil in a heavy saucepan and fry the onion, garlic and ginger until golden, stirring frequently. Add turmeric and fry for a few seconds. Add the garam masala, tomatoes, chili and half the fresh herbs. Add chana dal and stir well, then add the reserved cooking liquid, cover and simmer on low heat until peas are quite tender and the tomatoes have become a puree. Add lemon juice to taste and sprinkle with remaining fresh herbs.

I serve the Chana Chole over barley or rice and top with non-fat sour cream.


1Garam masala is a mixture of fragrant, pulverized spices. In Bengal it consists of cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves. In other parts of India it may also include black peppercorns, nutmeg, coriander, and other spices. All Indian stores sell ground garam masala.


Charmaine Solomon's Indian Cooking for Pleasure, Secaucus, New Jersey: Chartwell Books Inc.

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Last modified: January 11, 2001

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