Here’s a recipe for an age-old Indian favorite dish…Chana Dal cooked with the all-new Instant Pot. Chana dal is nothing but split Bengal grams cooked in aromatic spices. Its a perfect meal for a busy weekday. Busy weekdays are just around the corner with the schools reopening.
So, you will want to keep a recipe like this handy to cover for some of the crazy days to come. I have included separate instructions for Instant Pot as well as a stovetop version.
But what is special with Chana Dal? Chana Dal is brown chickpeas that have been split and skinned/polished. It is a gluten-free, protein-rich meal option that gives you more than 80% of your dietary fiber count for a day. It is a grain that you should always stock up on.
How to make Chana dal Recipe without a pressure cooker?
Chana dal recipe can be made in a saucepan without pressure cooker or with an electric pressure (Conventional or Instant Pot). Just be sure to soak the dal overnight for faster cook time. But that is not absolutely necessary if you are using a pressure cooker.
Soaking them for 1-4 hours will speed up the cooking process regardless of how you choose to cook Bengal gram. So, I always recommend to readers that they soak it.
For the saucepan method, you have to cook them in water, on medium heat for up to 25 min. As the dal cooks. you have to saute the spices, ginger garlic, onion, and tomatoes until they are soft and add the cooked chana dal.
Dhaba style Chana dal
What is Dhaba style? All that refers to is the street food version of cooking Chana Dal. What I have shared today is the restaurant-style. Dhaba style would require frying the dal/Bengal gram in oil and some extra oil for tempering.
But my version requires very less oil and hence a more nutritious option. If you are looking for the Dhaba style, you can follow the same instructions for the most part. Just be sure to add the tempering (Tadka) at the end with 2 – 3 tsp of oil. See the recipe box for details.
No Onion, Garlic for chana dal Recipe
If you are allergic to onions or garlic or avoiding them for any specific reason, this dish is still an option and you would not be compromising any taste. Just skip the onion-garlic part from the recipe and enjoy your dish.
Try my other Dal Recipe
Here are the recipe details….
Chana Dal Recipe-Instant Pot+ Stove-top
- 2 cups chana dal/ split Bengal gram
- 4- 4 ½ cup water
- 2 medium-size tomatoes
- 1 onion
- 2 tsp grated ginger
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 green chilies
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 red chili
- ½ tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- ½ tsp - 1 tsp red chili powder or cayenne powder
- 1 tsp mango powder/amchur
- 2 tsp dry fenugreek/ dry methi leaves
- 4-6 tsp coconut oil
- Salt to taste
- Cilantro for garnish
- Drain the soaked Chana Dal and set it aside.
- Start the instant pot in sauté mode and drizzle a couple of teaspoons of oil.
- As the oil heats up, add the cumin seeds and after a few seconds add chopped or minced garlic.
- Once the cumin seeds start to sizzle and the garlic changes color, add onions, ginger, green chilies, and saute for 2 minutes.
- Add tomatoes, spices and stir them well. Follow it up with chana dal and water for cooking. Stir it all up.
- Press ‘Cancel’ on the Instant Pot and close the lid with a vent in sealing position.
- Change the instant pot setting to ‘manual’ or ‘pressure cook’ mode at high pressure for 10-12 mins.
- When the instant pot beeps, let the pressure release naturally.
- Add tadka and give a good stir. (For tadka heat oil in a small pan and saute 1 red chili, chili powder, fenugreek leaves/ kasoori methi and add into the dal)
- Garnish with cilantro, then serve with rice or roti.
Saucepan or Stovetop version
- Soak the chana dal in water for 4 hours or let it soak overnight. At the end of 4 hours, drain the water and place it aside.
- Place a pan over medium heat and add a few teaspoons of oil.
- As the oil heats up, add the cumin seeds. As the seeds start to sizzle, add minced garlic.
- When the garlic turns golden brown, add green chilies, ginger, and chopped onions. Saute for 2 min.
- Add chopped tomatoes and the remaining spices. Saute for another 2 min.
- Then add the soaked, drained chana dal and 3cups of water.
- Cover with a lid and cook on medium heat for 20 min.
- When the dal is cooked, add ½ cup water and salt and stir well. Cook for another 5 more mins. (Add more water if required)
- To prepare tadka: Add a few teaspoons of oil onto a small pan. Add oil to the pan when it's heating up add 1 red chili and fry for 3 sec then switch off the heat.
- Add ¼ tsp red chili powder, and dry fenugreek leaves, asafoetida. Add this tadka to the chana dal.
- Dal is ready to serve with rice or roti.
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