Chana Dal Fry

Chana Dal Fry

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When growing up, one of my cousin’s visited us frequently during holidays. Whenever she visited us, she made it a point to go and meet her paternal cousin V, during her stay with us. Her cousin is lot older than us and her children are our age. She is a bubbly lady, always smiling and cracking jokes. I use to visit V with my cousin. Everyone in the family use to pull V’s leg about her hospitality. As soon as the doorbell rang, she would rush into the kitchen to boil potatoes and, make potato curry and some pooris for her guests. That was sweet of her but it was always aloo poori! The other food that reminds me of her is chana dal fry. My mom never made chana dal fry and use to relish it at V’s place.  I made it today for the first time and it turned out good, a change from the liquid dals I usually make!

This month Harini challenged us to design a menu with chana dal, sweet potato, fenugreek, raw mango, corn flour or wheat flour and strawberry. As soon as I saw the list, this chana dal came to my mind. So, my menu suggestion to Harini is

Design a Menu # 2
Appetizer: Whole Wheat Methi Khakra (Tarla Dalal Recipe)
Main Course: Raw Mango Relish, Chana Dal Fry, Sweet Potato Pulusu
Dessert: Chocolate coated Strawberries

This is my entry to Harini’s Design a Menu # 2 and to MLLA # 35, an event started by Susan.

Chana Dal Fry

Total Time: 30 minutes
Preparation: 15 minutes (cooking the dal)
Cooking Time: 15 minutes


  • ½ cup Chana Dal
  • 1 tbsp. Oil
  • ½ tsp. Cumin Seeds
  • 3-4 Curry Leaves (I did not use today)
  • ¾ medium sized Onion chopped
  • 4-6 Green Chilies cut
  • ½ – ¾ tsp. Ginger Paste (I ran out of garlic hence used ginger instead)
  • 1 tsp. Coriander Powder
  • Turmeric
  • ½ – ¾ tsp. Salt (adjust to taste)
  • Cilantro to garnish (I did not use it as I ran out of it)


  • Wash the dal, cook it until done and don’t overcook it. The dal needs to be soft, firm and not mushy. If cooking on stove top, cook the dal with about 3 cups of water until cooked and it will take about 20 – 25 minutes. If cooking in a pressure cooker, cook it with 1 cup of water until done. In my pressure cooker, I cook it for 5 whistles on high and  this takes about 5 minutes. Let it completely cool before opening the pressure cooker. The cooling time is about 5 – 10 minutes.
  • Drain the water, reserving 2 and 3 tbsp. of the cooked water for later use.  Keep aside the cooked dal.
  • Heat oil in a pan and add cumin. When the cumin turns light brown, add curry leaves.
  • Then add onion and cook until translucent.
  • Add green chilies, ginger and cook until the raw smell of the ginger is gone.
  • Add coriander powder, salt, turmeric and mix well.
  • Add chana dal and sauté for 2-3 minutes until the dal is lightly roasted.
  • Turn the heat to medium low and cook for 5- 7 minutes until the dal is nicely fried. If the dal begins to burn, add the 2-3 tbsps. of water that we kept aside after cooking the dal.
  • When the dal is cooked, turn off the heat, transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with cilantro. Serve it rice.

7 thoughts on “Chana Dal Fry

  1. Hi Usha..

    Thanks for the spicy entry. This sounds like a cross between Channa Chat and our own Kadalekalu Usli !! Love it either way 🙂

    Smitha @ Kannadacuisne

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