Chana Dal Fry dishes are very popular and for a good reason. The combination of the creamy dal, the crisp and caramelized onions, the taste of the ghee and cumin seeds, and the occasional piece of tomato combine very well together, producing a complex range of flavors from a simple dish.
Why You'll Love This Instant Pot Dal Recipe
- Fast. A delicious meal ready in under 30 minutes.
- Easy. Fry up onions and spices while your dal cooks in the Instant Pot.
- Vegetarian. A great Vegetarian-friendly dish.
- Versatile. Use any split dal you have in your pantry.
What Is Chana Dal In English?
Chana is actually nothing more than split chickpeas, or garbanzo beans. For this dish, you can also have the cooked chana dal already using the PIP rice and Chana recipe I've provided here.
Or you can make it as the recipe calls for below, which is just the dal.
Does Chana Dal Need To Be Soaked?
Unlike some other lentils, this kind does not need to be soaked before you cook them. Since it is a split lentil, it cooks much faster than a whole bean.
Do I Have To Use An Instant Pot For This Recipe?
No, you don't. You can definitely cook the chana dal on the stovetop. It's just that it takes a while and you have to keep an eye on the pot so it doesn't boil over.
How To Make Stove Top Chana Dal
If you want to do this, here are the steps:
- Add 1 cup of Chana Dal to a large pan
- Add 1 cup of water
- Let simmer until fully cooked (about 30 minutes).
Is Chana Dal The Only Thing I Can Use In This Recipe?
Nope, it's not. This can be made with any split dal, such as tuvar, masoor, moong, etc. The dal must be split though so don't use whole beans, as what you want is a creamy final texture.
But I like chana dal and it is less likely to cause sugar/insulin spikes than some other dals, so if I must have dal, that's what I have. Besides, chana dal just tastes so good to me.
So in this picture below, you can use ANY of these dals--except the little brown ones at the top, as that is a whole bean, not a split dal.
How To Make This Chana Dal Recipe
- First, cook the savory portion on the stovetop.
- Next, cook the dal in the Instant Pot.
- Mix the Chana Dal with the cooked spices and onions.
More Delicious Lentil Recipes
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- 1 cup (192 g) chana dal, , (yellow split peas)
- 2 cups (500 ml) Water
- 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
For the Fry part
- 4 teaspoons (4 teaspoons) Ghee, or use coconut oil for dairy free
- 1/2 teaspoon (1/2 teaspoon) cumin seeds
- 4 (4 ) Dried Red Chilis
- 6 cloves (6 cloves) Garlic, minced
- 2 cup (2 cup) Red Onion. chopped, thinly sliced
- 1 cup (2 ) Tomatoes, chopped
- 1 teaspoon (1 teaspoon) Turmeric
- 1 teaspoon (1 teaspoon) Ground Cumin
- 1-2 cups (250 ml) Water
- 1/4 cup (4 g) Chopped Cilantro or Parsley, chopped
Cook the Dal
- Place the chana dal and water into your Instant Pot or pressure cooker and cook at high pressure for 7 minutes, and allow it to release pressure naturally for 10 minutes. Release all remaining pressure quickly.
- Open the lid and mash the dal with the back of a spoon to get a creamy texture.
- While the dal is cooking, you can get the "Fry" part of this recipe together.
For the "Fry" part
- Heat a saucepan and melt the ghee or coconut oil. When it shimmers, put in cumin seeds, red chiles and garlic and cook for 1 minute until the ghee picks up the flavors. That red chili looks vicious but it really doesn't add that much heat--unless you chew it. Then you're on your own.
- Add the onion slices and cook, stirring occasionally until the onions are crisp and lightly browned, about 8-10 minutes. Flatten the onions in the saucepan and don't stir too often, since you want the edges to burn a little. (You say burn, I say caramelize). Watch video to see how long to cook the onions.
- Add in the tomato and let it get heated through as you gently mash it with the back of your spoon. Sprinkle the turmeric, salt, and powdered cumin, mixing well.
- Turn the Instant Pot to sauté. Pour in the spiced onions and tomatoes and mix well. Add a little water to get a thick, soupy but pourable consistency. Leave on sauté for 5-10 minutes until the flavors meld.
- Add chopped cilantro and serve with rice.
Watch The Video
- You can use any kind of split dal for this recipe.
- You can also make PIP rice with this dish at the same time.
- If you don't have the dried red chili peppers, you can omit. You may want to increase cayenne by 1/4 teaspoon--or not.
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Another great recipe!! Thank you:)
Deepa.......you could use a asafetida/galangal combination instead of the onions and garlic. I use Rani brand asafetida, it is very concentrated, nice taste - I use this combination anywhere where onion and garlic are called for. Instead of tomato you could add a vegetable broth seasoning like Vogue Cuisine (Amazon.com). You can add it to your cooking water. I do not eat onions or garlic because I am of the Jain religion - and I find this broth very mild as far as detecting these two. You could also try adding some powdered mushroom. These flavors will more than make up for the lost onion/garlic/tomato combo.
Sorry should have said saut d on low 5 minutes. If doing longer saute would add water to pot. Ev
So I did 2.5. Cups of channa daal and about 3 cups of water for 6 minutes.
Made the fry in a pan whilst that was npr for the 10 minutes and then just chucked the fry into the pot and there was enough residual liquid left in the daal that
I did not add any additional water. Sauted it for about 10 minutes low and it tastes fantastic. Thank you from a Scottish granny!
This is the best recipe for Channa dal I have used in my whole life. Turned out oerfect and tasty.Maybe some commenters are getting crunchy daal from not soaking it first.
Great recipe! I cooked the Chana dal in the instant pot for 7 minutes and the texture was perfect.
I used Goya brand Masoor dal (split lentils), and mine were still hard after 6 minutes. I think I would try 8 minutes next time.
Otherwise, I thought it was good. I couldn't find the dried red chiles, so I omitted them. My kids don't love onions or tomatoes, and since that is such an integral part of the recipe, I probably will try a different dal recipe next time.
Made this from your book. Even not having dried chilis on hand, and using red pepper flakes instead, this was the tastiest recipe I've tried so far! However, as the other poster mentions, my batch of chana dal was still very crunchy after only 6 minutes.
You know I’m not sure what’s going on with that crunchy dal situation. Mine comes out super smooshy.
Are you guys using a metal pan? Metal conducts heat much better than glass and that’s what I use
My lentils were still a bit hard after 6 minutes and not mashable. but if they were how much would I mash them? Partially! Mostly? I did finish the recipe then covered and cooked way down until the lentils were done but next time will cook the lentils longer in the pot for an extra minute or two. How thick is the finished productvsupposed to be? However I achieved my result it was quite tasty and my father approved whole -heartedly! It's a make again he says.
Half mashed is the best way I can think of to describe it 🙂 glad ytour dad liked it. I love Chana dal