Spicy Chana Dal

Spicy chana dal

Spicy chana dal served in a white bowl with rice, salad and breads

Spicy Chana Dal for dinner

This easy to make Spicy Chana dal is a very tasty little recipe to add to your repertoire. If you are looking for an economical, healthy, fibre and protein filled meal with Indian flavours youʼre in the right spot.

Dal, daal, dhal, dhall or however you want to spell it is eaten throughout India. Dal simply means dried legumes…..think peas and lentils. Recipes for Dal are found in every Indian household on a daily basis in millions of flavour combinations.

Onion and cumin frying in wok
Frying garlic after tempering the cumin

Itʼs the spices and vegetable additions that turn these nutritious legumes into healthy home comfort meals. On their own, they are often just plain bland and boring.

Frying off spices in ghee, adding onions, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, chilli and curry leaves is just so super easy to form the basis for this Spicy chana dal meal.

Adding onion to garlic and cumin to wok
Adding onion to garlic and cumin in the wok

You need to cook your dal until it is soft and almost a rough purée, a little like the consistency of cooked porridge.

Serve with steamed basmati rice, a quick little salad combo of tomatoes, cucumbers and red onion along with some chopped fresh coriander. Add some yoghurt and fried flatbread or cumin spiced pappadums and you are on a complete Indian roll…YUM!

Wok after adding curry leaves with browned onions, garlic and cumin
Wok after adding curry leaves
 tomatoes, ginger and chilli added to wok with wooden spoon
Adding tomatoes, ginger and green chilli to wok
Turmeric, chilli powder, garam masala and coriander powder added to wok with wooden spoon
Turmeric, chilli powder, garam masala and coriander added to wok
adding chana dal and any residual cooking water, salt and fenugreek leaves with wooden spoon
Adding chana dal and any residual cooking water, salt and fenugreek leaves

Indian pantry

You will probably be surprised that you already have a lot of widely used Indian spices in your pantry. Cumin, coriander seeds, turmeric, mustard seeds, Garam masala, fresh ginger, garlic, cinnamon, chilli powder, cloves, fennel seeds all add to the diverse flavourings of Indian cuisine.

Youʼve got to love an emporium that at every turn or new shelf youʼre picking up products and excitedly ‘googlingʼ their uses. We would much rather go on the shopping hunt for new ingredients than any other form of retail therapy.

Indian cuisine has got to be one of the worlds most diverse and flavoursome cuisines. So, so, many flavour combinations with earthy spices to searing hot chilli flavours. Whatʼs not to love?

scroll down below for the spicy chana dal recipe


check out some more winning Indian recipes

indian madras beef curry

click on the link for the recipe…..Indian Madras Beef Curry

roti jala - malaysian net pancakes cooked and rolled served on a banana leaf
Ready to dip into your curry. Yum!

click on the link for the recipe…..Roti Jala – Malaysian net pancakes

Indian vegetable curry

click on the link for the recipe…..indian vegetable curry

Cauliflower, lentil and tomato curry

click on the link for the recipe…..cauliflower lentil and tomato curry


Whatʼs your favourite Indian meal?

We would love to hear from you in the comments below when you make this delicious spicy chana dal.

Spicy chana dal
Yield: 6

Spicy chana dal

Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour

Dal is a simple delicious, cheap  and healthy comfort food high in fibre and protein that is made in 40 minutes. Serve with steamed basmati rice, a quick salad of cucumber, tomato red,  onion and served with flat breads. What's not to like?


  • 1 cup (200g) dried chana dal- soaked in water for an hour or more
  • 4 cups cold water
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoon ghee or oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 3 medium tomatoes chopped
  • 1 medium yellow (brown) onion chopped
  • 2 tablespoons ginger peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic finely chopped
  • 2 green chili - seeds optional
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh coriander chopped


Prep dal:

  1. drain soaked dal and place in pot adding 4-5 cups cold water, turmeric and oil

bring to a boil and then simmer on low-med heat for 45-60 minutes till chana dal is softened - skim scum on surface occasionally

Tempering ingredients:

  1. heat ghee or oil and add cumin seeds stirring for 1 minutes whilst they spit and splatter
  2. add onion and fry till golden (10 minutes), then add garlic and chili and fry for another minute
  3. add tomatoes and ginger - stir 1 minute
  4. add turmeric, chill powder, garam masala and coriander powder - stir
  5. cook tomato mixture stirring for 8-10 minutes till tomatoes have broken down
  6. add fenugreek leaves if using and salt
  7. add chana dal and any liquid from cooking - add a little more water if dal is too thick
  8. stir and simmer for a further 10 minutes
  9. stir through coriander leaves and serve


  1. Fenugreek leaves are optional

Nutrition Information


6 serves

Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 135Total Fat 9gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 5gCholesterol 11mgSodium 445mgCarbohydrates 13gFiber 4gSugar 4gProtein 3g

Nutritional information provided here is only intended as a guide.

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