Low Budget Healthy Foods

Easy chana dal

Easy chana dal

This is made possible by BBC Foods!


For the dal

  • 250g/9oz chana dal
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp ghee or butter

For the tarka

  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 20g/¾oz fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tomato, finely chopped
  • 2–3 green chillies (bird’s eyes or similar), chopped
  • 2 tsp dried methi (fenugreek)
  • 2 tsp garam masala


  1. To make the dal, soak the chana dal for at least 1 hour in cold water.

  2. Once soaked, drain through a sieve and rinse under cold running water.

  3. Place the dal in a large saucepan with the salt, turmeric and ghee and cover with 1 litre water.

  4. Bring to the boil and cook over a medium heat for 45 minutes, or until soft.

  5. Skim off any scum that forms on top of the water – this is just starch from the dal.

  6. Meanwhile, to make the tadka, heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and when they start to pop, add the garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute.

  7. Immediately add the onion and cook for 5 minutes.

  8. Add the tomato and green chillies, season with salt, to taste, and cook for a further 2 minutes.

  9. Add the methi and garam masala to the paste, remove from the heat and set aside.

  10. Check the dal is cooked – if it is a little dry, stir in up to 200ml/7fl oz freshly boiled water to loosen.

  11. Stir in the tadka and cook for a few more minutes. Serve immediately.

Banner and Image Credit: BBC

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