International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
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Recipes Around the World International Vegetarian Union
Vegan Indian Recipes - Beans, Pulses, Legumes, Dals
Contributed by Vegetarians and Vegans from around the world

Chana Dal

  • 1 c. chana dal
  • 7 c. water
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1/4 t. each cayenne, turmeric powder, cumin powder, corriander powder
  • 1 T. tmarind pulp (or 1 T. lemon juice & 1 t. sugar)
  • 1 T. vegetable oil
  • 1/4 t. black mustard seeds
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped

Chana dal is the larger of the skinned, split, yellow dals you will find in an Indian grocery -- it closely resembles the yellow split peas found in Western supermarkets, and in fact these yellow split peas make an acceptable substitute.

Since this recipe was first posted we have received the following correction: Chana Dal is actually a smaller chickpea called desi and the variety that is used most often is called Myles. This is a beautiful small red chickpea that is kinned and split to become Chana Dal. It also has nothing to do with peas. Split peas are a different species with a different nutritional profile. It is absolutely delicious too but still hard to find organically grown.

Measure the dal into a bowl and sort through it to remove any unskinned (dark) dal, small stones or other debris.
Soak the chana dal in 4 c. water for 2-3 hours, then wash under running water and drain.
Bring 3 c. water and the salt to boil in a medium-size pot.
Add the chana dal and wait for the water to begin its second boil, then cover the pot and cook over medium-to-low eat for 30 min.
At this time, remove the cover and stir up the dal.
To the open pot add the cayenne, turmeric, cumin, coriander and the tamarind pulp (skin & seeds removed).
Stir well and allow to simmer uncovered while you prepare the next step.

In a separate small pot or frying pan, heat the vegetble oil over low heat and add the mustard seeds and chopped garlic to it. When the oil gets hot, the mustard seeds will begain to pop (really. and they may spatter a bit.).
When they have ceased popping, add the oil mixture to the simmering pot of dal.
Immediately cover the pot and keep covered for 2 min. while the dal continues to simmer.
Then remove the cover and stir once with a spoon to mix in the new ingredients.
Cook uncovered for another 5 min. and the dal is ready to be served with rice or bread.
Taste to correct seasoning (ie salt. also, I tend to increase the amounts of all spices a bit, keeping proportions the same.)
This dal is fairly thick in consistancy and should not be made thinned with water.

Serves 4-6.