Channa Daal

Lentils or daal, remind me of home. They have the warmth of a good bowl of soup, and are packed with nutrients and flavor. Lentils come in so many colors and varieties, all of them made the same way with slight variations on cooking time – they’re easy to make. This daal was one of my dad’s favorites. He was meticulous about getting it just so, even Goldilocks wouldn’t have anything on him when it came to food. Trust me, if daddy liked it, so will you.

Recipe courtesy of Asha Kurichh

Servings: 6  Prep Time: 20 min  Cook Time: 60-90 min  Difficulty: easy


  • 1 cup channa daal (split chick peas lentils)
  • 7 cups water
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup tomato, puréed (fresh or canned)
  • 1/4 cup fresh coriander
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ginger, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 tsp whole cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt


Wash lentils thoroughly, until the water runs clear.

In a large saucepan, combine lentils, salt, cloves, cinnamon, turmeric and water, and cook on high heat until it reaches a boil, then reduce to medium heat.

Cook for 1 – 1 ½ hours. Stir occasionally. Check as cooking if more water is needed, add as necessary. Daal is cooked when the lentils and water are blended. Add tadka once daal is cooked.

Easy Method: Add all the ingredients to pot and skip the tarka.

Traditional Method: Tarka

In frying pan, add oil, heat at high temperature, sauté onions and garlic until light brown.

Reduce heat to medium-high, add whole cumin, ground cumin, ground coriander, cayenne pepper, paprika, and ginger, stir until mixture thickens slightly.

Add tomatoes, stir until all ingredients are blended.

Add frying pan mixture to pot of daal, stir and then garnish with fresh coriander.

Serve over a bed of hot basmati rice with a side salad or your favorite vegetable dish.

Enjoy your meal!

One Comment Add yours

  1. My favorite kind of food.

    Liked by 1 person

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