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Pratibha's Dry Chana Dal

Descriptions: "This is good enough to be a meal in itself!" Pratibha tells me.


  • 1 cup chana dal
  • 1 cup thinly sliced onion
  • 2 tbsp chopped tender fenugreek leaves (there is no good alternative for fenugreek leaves, but if you can’t find them, then use some finely chopped dill)
  • 1-inch stick cinnamon
  • 2-3 cardamoms
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ tsp sugar (optional, or you can choose your favorite sweetener)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp oil or clarified butter


  • Clean, wash and soak dal for 15 minutes. Boil till soft (not completely breaking) in at least 5 cups of water along with turmeric. Drain water (this water along with a little dal can be saved to make the lentil soup recipe). Heat oil in a heavy saucepan. Add coarsely ground cardamoms, cloves, and bay leaf along with cumin seeds. Fry till they start sputtering, then add onions. Stir fry until light brown. Add the dal, lemon juice, and fenugreek leaves. Stir gently. Take care not to mash up dal too much. Serve hot with rice or Indian roti or even bread.


Contributed by Pratibha Anand in Gothenburg, Sweden, via email.

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Last modified: July 14, 2005

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