Vegan Chana Dal Recipe

I almost called this blog “Flying by the Seat of My Pants”, but then decided I didn’t want to lock myself into being the disorganized, procrastinating, always “winging-it” gal that I am.  But, truth is – that’s me, and it’s OK, but it can be terribly frustrating, and this post is a great example of that.

I have thousands of photos on my computer.  It wasn’t until I’d had my digital camera for 4 years that I even attempted any kind of organization, and that only applies to recent photos.  I tried to load some new ones onto the computer a couple weeks ago, only to find that I have NO ROOM left on my drive.  UGH.

So, until I can find the time to sit down for many hours and go through them all, I can’t take any new photos…which is half the fun of this for me.  😦

In the meantime, I tried this recipe for Chana Dal **(see note at bottom of post) yesterday and it is a real treat for the taste buds; the kind of dish that keeps me excited about cooking, and eating.

Chana Dal is a legume used in Indian dishes – it’s very similar to a yellow split pea.

The recipe is completely vegetarian, but the spices are perfectly balanced and create a broth with such depth of flavor, you’d think there was meat hiding in there somewhere.  So wonderful to be able to layer spices together in such a way that tasting them lights up every one of the senses.  I’m not kidding.  Even my husband – who is tentative about beans/legumes, thought it was delicious and said he could eat it every day.  (!!!!) My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

I didn’t have tamarind pulp, but I did have a can of tomato paste that needed to be used, so I substituted that.  This is a great source of fiber and protein.  It really is so good that I plan to make a double batch today so I can keep eating it for a few days.

We ate it with brown basmati rice which I flavored with a few saffron threads. I wasn’t sure it was going to work – I really like white basmati with Indian food.  Surprisingly, they went together perfectly. BONUS!

PLUS – it’s so cheap to make. I spent $4.99 on the bag of dal at the Indian grocery.  I can make 4.5 batches of this with that.  Considering each batch is about 4 servings, this comes to less than $.30 a serving.  (not including the spices) Buying the spices at the Indian grocer saves a TON as well.

I will probably try the next batch with half the salt and see how that works…


**(3/10/12)   You might have noticed that the link sends you to a different recipe. A reader just alerted me to the fact that I was linking to a different recipe from the one I was actually using – she noticed there was no tamarind pulp. That link now takes you to the recipe the post references,  but here is the one that was here in case you are coming back to find that one. I’m adding another post using this one


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14 responses to “Vegan Chana Dal Recipe

  1. Pam

    “So wonderful to be able to layer spices together in such a way that tasting them lights up every one of the senses.” I like that, because I always say I need help with spices. I’ll give this one a try.
    I know what you mean about going through pictures. I love going through memory lane, but it is time consuming. I have boxes of Savannah’s competition videos to sort.

    • Pam – have you tried Carla’s Albondigas Soup? The flavors in this, while different, remind me of that in the way they work together to create something beautiful. This stuff tastes rich and indulgent – buttery…though it has no butter, very little oil even, and is really low in fat. Let me know if you try it!

    • Pam – you’ll have to post some of those videos for us!

  2. Pam

    So many recipes, so little time! Another one to add to my “must try” list.

  3. Buy an external Hard Drive and just transfer your pictures to go through later. 🙂

  4. Cat

    Hi Susan…thanks for leaving a post with a trail to your site…I’ve been looking to try making dal so I am happy to see this post. P.S. – left a link to your site via the post about the dinner…check it out!

  5. How are you? Any new cooking adventures lately?

    • Hi Carla!

      I am doing well! I was out of town all last week and am leaving again for another week at the beach, so I certainly can’t complain. I have not been very busy in the kitchen lately, though when I return from my trip I hope to get back into it. I’ll be looking for some neat things to do using the herbs I’ve got growing outside. I’ll head over to your table first thing to see what you’ve got going. Oh heck, I’m heading there NOW! Thanks for checking in. 🙂

  6. 3lb of carrots

    Hi thanks for posting that link for the recipe, i’m just about to make it, however, in your post you said you didnt have tamarind pulp which you substituted with tomato paste yet the recipe doesn’t require tamarind pulp so i’m a bit confused if you used a different recipe to the one posted, anyway, thanks again, my taste buds can’t wait till dinner time 🙂

    • Hi 3lb of carrots! my goodness, I am so glad you asked this. I just realized the link connects to the wrong recipe! I’m going to change the link but will leave this one in too so you can try both. I’ll have to try that one also. lol I always hate it when a recipe lists or talks about a certain ingredient but when it’s time to make it – it disappears. will you let me know how this recipe turns out? it looks great!

    • I tried the other recipe and it was good – I actually did a whole other post for it – check it out! Thanks for the heads-up. susan

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