Chana Dal Fry

This is the first recipe I’ve ever made using a pressure cooker. Pressure coookers are a very popular way of making dals as they reduce the cooking time dramaticaly, in this case it brings the cooking of the chana down from around 40-45 minutes to 8 minutes but it’s a very different style of cooking to what I am used to as I generally go by the “it’s cooked when it looks or tastes ready” method but with pressure cooking you can’t open the cooker mid cook to check it. For this reason there are lots of timing tables available on the internet that will tell you how long to cook each type of ingredient for and short of a lot of experimenting you do have to put your trust in these somewhat.

This Chana Dal Fry turned out really well so I was very happy with my first venture into pressure cooking and it really is a time saver. I had this served with brown basmati rice but it would go equally well with naan or chapatti. If you made it to a thinner consistency it could even be served like a soup.

Serves 3-4


For the Dal:
150g chana dal (split bengal gram), washed well
700ml water
1/4 teaspoon of turmeric

For the tempering:
1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon of asafoetida
1 onion, finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 inch of ginger, finely chopped
1 green chilli, chopped
227g tin of chopped tomatoes minus the juice
1/4 teaspoon of turmeric
1/2 teaspoon of extra hot chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon of garam masala
1/2 teaspoon of dry mango powder/amchur powder
1 teaspoon of coriander powder
1 teaspoon of dried methi leaves
Salt to taste
A few coriander leaves


  1. Wash the chana dal well and soak for an hour then drain and add to pressure cooker with 700ml of fresh water and 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric, seal the cooker and cook on a high heat until the pressure builds then reduce heat and cook for 8 minutes under pressure. Turn the heat off and allow the pressure to reduce naturally.
  2. Heat the oil in another pan and add the cumin seeds and wait for them to sizzle.
  3. Add the asafoetida and onions and fry until golden.
  4. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli and cook for 2 minutes.
  5. Add the tomatoes and turmeric powder, chili powder, garam masala powder, mango powder and coriander powder and cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Add the dried methi leaves and cook for 30 seconds stirring constantly then remove from the heat and add to the cooked chana dal.
  7. Add salt to taste then simmer on a low heat for 5-10 minutes until you get a medium consistency or to your preference, add more water if required.
  8. Garnish with a few coriander leaves


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