Chane ki dal OR Bengal gram lentils sauce

I was away this weekend to attend a cousin’s wedding which is the reason for my late acknowledgments to your mails. We had a blast even though I could not move around much due to the accident. It was fun meeting up my parents, aunts, uncles and cousins after a long time. I enjoyed dressing up and photographing them, especially the bride and her groom. She looked resplendent in her ghagra, coordinated jewellery and the glow of happiness that is special to a bride, and he looked every inch her handsome prince in his sherwani-dhoti ensemble complemented by traditional jootis! To add to the excitement that December started with, my sister and brother-in-law are coming down with their two year old baby boy soon. This is going to be a fun month!

At this point I must go straight to another simple and tasty recipe that is a family favourite, lest I get carried away! I need a strong dose of protein to keep up the energy levels this month.

It’s an Indian home so we can’t help having dal almost twice a week. Blame it on the taste but I just cannot do without my daily bowlful of lentils. Isn’t it good that something so tasty on the palette also builds your bones at the same time! On days I don’t make dal we have rasam with a protein packed veggie. Dals can never be boring as we have a wide variety of pulses and beans in India, all thanks to our tropical climate. We usetuvar dal (pigeon peas),moong dal (mung beans), saboot moong (whole mung), masoor dal (pink or orange lentils), whole masoor and chana dal (bengal gram) on a regular basis. The basic procedure is the same for preparation for any dal but each has its unique flavour and taste.

Amongst my favourite lentils is bengal gram or chana dal for its rich, nutty flavour and bright colour. For those who are afraid of the gas it causes follow this very simple procedure my friend (a nutritionist) suggested to me. Soak the lentils for half an hour in hot water, rinse and drain the water. Do this once or twice more and then cook as usual. You will also find that it cooks faster which is great as it saves fuel, time and indirectly helps you to keep the planet working great. Add minced ginger and garlic and a pinch of asafoetida(hing) if you want to be doubly sure about your health.

Dish: Chane ki dal / Masala chana dal / Bengal gram lentil sauce
Level: Simple
Time taken: 1/2 hour including time to cook the lentils

Bengal gram / chana dal – 200g
(Soaked and rinsed twice as explained above and then pressure cooked to 3 whistles without salt or turmeric)
Onions (Chopped fine) – 1/2 cup
Tomatoes (Chopped fine) – 1/2 cup
Garlic (Minced) – 4 one head garlics or 4 cloves of a garlic
Ginger – 1″ minched
Green chillis – 2 minced
Salt, chilli powder and turmeric as per taste

Mustard oil / Kachhi ghani – 2 tbsp.
Cumin seeds / jeera – 1 tsp.
Asafoetida / hing – 1/4 tsp. or a pinch
Curry leaves / kadi patta – 1 sprig (optinal)

A wedge of lime, sticks of ginger and coriander leaves

Mash the dal slightly till it comes to a rough texture after keeping aside 1 cup. Now mix the two together.

Heat oil in a wok till smoking hot. Cool to room temperature and then heat again for preparing the tempering. Add cumin seeds followed by asafoetida and curry leaves. Add minced garlic, ginger and green chillies and saute till the garlic turns golden brown.

Now add onions and saute till pink followed by tomatoes. Add a pinch of salt and close the wok letting the tomatoes cook and sweat out their juices for about two minutes. Add turmeric and chilli powders at this this stage as desired.

Remove the lid and add the roughly mashed pulses. Mix well and adjust consistency by adding at least 2-3 cups of water. Bengal gram dal tends to thicken more than other pulses so you may get liberal with the water if you need to serve it later. Adjust salt, squeeze a dash of lime if desired, garnish and serve hot with phulkas or rice.

Try the mustard oil and notice the difference. It adds zest and flavour!

This dal is my submission to Susan’s MLLA. The eighteenth editionis being hosted by dear friend Srivallli of Cooking 4 All Seasons.

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Have your say

  1. Good to know you are having a great time Harini! Enjoy the winter with the warmth of family and friends. 🙂
    Always love chana dal … am going to try making it your way once .. sounds different to me. 🙂

  2. Hello, just posted about your green gram salad for TnT 🙂 Do check out !

    thanks for sharing, it was awesome !

  3. Ah, what a surprise..thank you for the link love..:))..and of course for the beautiful entry!..

  4. wonderful clicks. makes me tempting.

  5. I ve seen a similar recipe at Sandeepa 's place! Is that like our kootu without veggie! That is a gorgeous pic. Seems u had a blast in the wedding ceremony!

  6. I haven't made use of Chana dal while making dals…this looks so good.Bookmarking this one:)As always great pic Harini!

  7. Hi harini….Iam a subscriber of ur blog…I loved teh photographs in this post…it sim ply is awsome and great recipe too….
    YA december seems to be full of events for everyone!

  8. Hi harini…
    i have an issue now….I just posted a soup recipe for the monthly mingle and was filling the submission form which ask about the photo of size 300 px. I could just reduce the size to 320 px and so cudnt submit the form. Anyway to submit the form else?…pls let me know.

  9. Thanks all

    Kanchan, glad you liked the salad:).

    Valli, the pleasure is mine!

    Cham, yes! I did have a great time:)

    Shabs, thanks for your kind words:). You have to mail your post to me and not to Meeta. That form is meant for the mingles she hosts. Please follow the instructions given in my post.

  10. A 2 Z Vegetarian Cuisine

    Lovely Dal and what a great photograph. Yes indeed lot of things are going on in the blogosphere.

  11. Hi ..

    First time on your blog. Had a question. Where did you buy that picture perfect soup bowl from? It looks really pretty and with the delicious daal in it looks even prettier

  12. Vinita, thanks for visiting and staying to comment. Much appreciated:). The bowl in the picture is from Westside. You will find it in all their outlets.

  13. love the bowl, love the colours, love the presentation!

  14. Love it Harini.. I am taking a print out of this recipe and 'm gonna try today…

  15. Hi Sunshine,
    Thank you for your reply. But I still have no idea what Westside is.. I live in Texas. Is this a chain outside of US? I could not find anything online either which will tell me more about it.


  16. Hey Vinita, I checked up but found that the site does not feature this bowl amongst its items. Here is the link to the site –

  17. Oh sorry! Yes it is a chain of stores in India opened by the Tatas.

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