Simple, nutty chana dal made in an instant pot!
I was going to start this post by telling you how much my 10-month-old, Ace, loves this chana dal, but earlier today I caught him trying to eat a crumpled piece of paper that had fallen on the floor and so I decided that perhaps my crawling infant’s approval isn’t necessarily the best litmus test for whether a dish is tasty.
That said, my older son, who is three years old, genuinely enjoys this dal (and most of my other dal recipes). But… he also thinks his father is a master chef for his ability to stick sliced cheese in a tortilla. So I’m not sure whether my toddler’s approval makes for a great endorsement either. (FYI, I am not above putting cheese in a tortilla and calling it a day. I am however resentful that my husband got a “wow, good job daddy!” for what I consider a pretty lackluster quesadilla).
So… how can I prove to you that this chana dal will be a hit? Maybe just take my word for it? Or check out some of the reviews it’s gotten. 😉
“This turned out exceptionally well. It’s the second recipe of yours I’ve made and both surprised me by how great they taste. It’s also kind of magical because I used to assume I couldn’t cook my favorite Indian cuisine because it’s overly complicated and time consuming and I have little knowledge about cooking. Thanks so much for the insight and all of this delicious magic. I can’t wait to try making the veg korma next.”Colin D.
What is Chana Dal?
Chana dal is a soup made with split desi chickpeas, also known as bengal gram (read this post to learn about lentils used in Indian cooking).
Split legumes (like red lentils or toor dal) typically melt into soup but chana dal, though it softens, maintains its shape. It gives dal texture and adds a nice nutty flavor to a dish.
Onion Masala Makes this a Pour and Cook Recipe
If you are not familiar with Onion Masala, then you must be new to the blog – welcome! I like you already.
What’s onion masala? It’s a magical sauce that makes cooking flavorful Indian food so much faster. Having this masala handy allows you to skip the time-consuming step of sauteing onions and tomatoes. It really is a game-changer for those of us who love Indian cuisine.
If you have this masala ready to go, you’ll just need to toast cumin seeds in hot oil and then dump the rest of the ingredients listed below into an instant pot and cook. That’s it.
I have several recipes on my blog that call for this masala and you can also always make up a dish of your own.
Serve this chana dal with plain basmati rice or Jeera Rice. And then be sure to try another one of my Lentil Recipes!
- 1 cup chana dal soaked 1 hour
- 1 tablespoon ghee or oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 serrano pepper slit in half but still intact
- 2 ½ cups water
- ½ cup frozen onion masala
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon garam masala
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne or red chili powder to taste
- Cilantro garnish
- Soak the dal for 1-2 hours, drain and rinse.
- Press the sauté button, add oil and allow it to heat up for a minute. Add cumin seeds and serrano pepper to the pot. Once the cumin seeds begin to brown, add the remaining ingredients to the pot.
- Secure the lid, close the pressure valve and cook for 12 minutes at high pressure.
- Naturally release pressure or wait 15 minutes, then release pressure.
- Adjust salt to taste and add more liquid if you’d like a thinner dal.
- Garnish with cilantro and enjoy!
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