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Chana Dal - A Split Bengal Gram Recipe

Updated on June 18, 2015
Chana Dal
Chana Dal

Chana Dal

Chana Dal is also known as Split Bengal Gram and it is an Eastern Indian specialty, mainly in Bengal. It is often cooked on special occasions like marriages and parties. The aromatic qualities of the dal, the way its traditionally done (and the way I've shown in this recipe) is simply mind blowing. The flavors, the richness, the taste - you have to try it out to identify with chana dal lovers.

I have added whole garam masala for the tadka to get its deep flavorful base. I have also added the garam masala powder to spice it up a little. Pure ghee is added at the end which adds to the richness and taste of this dal.

I have pressure cooked the dal but you can add the soaked chana dal when the masala is fried in the pan and cook covered till it gets tender. I also prefer the dal to be thick but you may adjust the water according to your preference.

So here's the recipe.

Cook Time

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 35 min
Ready in: 45 min
Yields: 4 people


  • 250 gms chana dal (split, skinner, bengal gram)
  • 2 medium size onions
  • 2 medium size tomatoes, `
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
  • 2 each cardamon, cloves and cinnamon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 250 gms louki (bottle gourd - optional)
  • Salt (according to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp pure ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 tbsp coriander leaves (finely chopped)
  • 2 red chillies
  • 2 green chillies (split longitudinally)


1. Cut onions and tomatoes finely.

2. Soak chana dal for 2 hours.

Instructions for cooking

1. Boil the chana dal with 2 cups of water in a pressure cooker till it gets tender (I usually cook for 3 to 4 minutes after the pressure comes and I put the whistle on).

2. Heat oil in pan, then reduce your flame to low-medium, add bay leaf, whole spices (whole cardamom, clove and cinnamon) and red chillies. When they splutter, add onions and fry till it changes its color. Now, add green chillies and stir fry for a minute.

3. Now, add tomatoes and stir fry till they get tender. Then, add 2 tbsp of water and add turmeric, chilli, coriander, cumin and garam masala powder and stir fry till they blend with the masala. Now, add salt and sugar.

4. Add the boiled chana dal to the pan and stir. You may add 1 cup of water and cook for 5-7 minutes till the chana dal blends with the masala. You will notice a wonderful aroma coming from your dal. Switch off the flame.

5. Now, add your pure ghee on top of the dal and stir lightly. garnish with coriander leaves.

6. Your delicious Chana Dal is ready.

Served with pickles and onions
Served with pickles and onions
Served with rice, kulcha and salad
Served with rice, kulcha and salad

An often loved variation to the chana dal is one where louki is added to this dal. Louki adds an immense taste to the chana dal and goes really so well with the chana dal.

For this, you have to peel and cut the louki into 1 inch squares and boil with the chana dal in the pressure cooker (as in Step 1 in the Instructions above). As loukis have water inherent in them, it does leave water as the dal cooks. So, once its boiled, follow the rest of the Instructions above (from Step 2 onward).

The tasty Chana Dal with louki is ready.

Prepared with louki (bottle gourd)
Prepared with louki (bottle gourd)

This dal has been one of favorites since all time and I love preparing this whenever I get a craving for it. Sometimes i'd have it with eggplant fry, sometimes with potato finger chips and its just so awesome. The rich and dense dal (which is the way I like it) goes great with rotis, parathas and kulchas, as well as any type of rice, plain, jeera or pulao.

So, try this out and don't miss out.

5 stars from 1 rating of Chana Dal


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