chana dhal

This is a go to basic dhal made with split yellow peas, readily available and inexpensive – yet soooo delicious! If you leave it til the next day you’ll see it ‘gelatinous’ with protein. Much loved on retreats here, as you can maybe tell from the beautiful smiles. This recipe makes use of the ‘chancing’ or tarka style of adding spices at the end. Serve with basmati, subji and chutney. And a salad.

Ingredients serves 5-6

  • 250g split yellow peas
  • 2L water and later a kettle of boiled water you may decide to top up depending on how soupiness required
  • 1tsp turmeric powder
  • 2tblsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 50g fresh ginger peeled and grated
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp clove powder
  • 1/2tsp milled black pepper
  • 1 small green chili or 1/4 tsp chili flakes
  • 2 skinned tomatoes chopped
  • half a bunch of coriander leaf chopped
  • juice one lemon
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1tbsp coconut oil (optional luxury extra)


  1. Put the peas in a large pan with the water. Bring to the boil for ten minutes, scooping off foam with a slotted spoon. Add the turmeric, stirring in.
  2. Half cover and lower to a simmer for 45 – 60 minutes til peas are soft and squishy. Stir it about so it goes softer and creamier.
  3. Put the oil, black mustard and cumin seeds in a small, heavy bottomed frying pan
  4. Heat on a high heat til the seed just begin to pop. Add in the ginger. Stir. Add in the remaining powdered/milled spices and tomatoes and allow it to get pretty hot and spitty.
  5. Dump this into the boiled dhal and lightly stir in. You may want to swill out the pan with some curry so as not to waste any fragrant oil and seeds. Put the lid on fully as soon as you can and turn off the heat.
  6. Finish getting the other parts of the meal ready so that the dhal has 5 minutes or more to rest.
  7. Stir in the coriander, lemon and salt; coconut oil if using