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Curried Chana Dal


  • 1 1/2 cup (12 oz.) chana dal, washed and drained
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 t. ground turmeric
  • 1/2 t. ground cumin
  • 1 t. ground coriander
  • 1/2 t. cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 3 T. butter or margarine
  • 1 t. cumin seed
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 T. grated fresh ginger
  • 1 t. garam masala* (optional, but certainly not the same without it!)
  • 2 T. chopped fresh coriander leaves


  • Put chana dal in a bowl. Add enough cold water to cover and soak overnight.

  • To cook, drain chana dal. Place chana dal, water, turmeric, cumin, coriander, and cayenne in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover pan, and simmer for about 1 hour.

  • In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add cumin seed and cook for 1 minute. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, or until onion turns golden brown.

  • Add chana dal and cooking liquid to onion mixture. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cover pan, reduce heat to low, and simmer 30 minutes or until chana dal is tender but not mushy.

  • Add garam masala and mix well.

  • Place chana dal in a serving dish and sprinkle with chopped coriander leaves.


*Garam masala is a blend of spices and can be found in the Indian groceries.

Serving Suggestion:

Serves six to eight.

Source: Giselle Jain on the newsgroup October 24, 1999.

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Last modified: January 11, 2001

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