Creamy Coconut Chana Dal

The recipe starts at 07:08

Chana Dal, also known as split chickpeas, gives a nice chew to this dal recipe. It's a larger-sized legume, so it needs to be soaked overnight before cooking (unless you're using a pressure cooker). If you want to skip the soaking step, feel free to use yellow or red lentils. In that case, decrease the cooking time from 30 minutes to 15 minutes.


Creamy Coconut Chana Dal

Recipe PDF

▸ ▹ Vegan, soy-free, gluten-free, nut-free, one-pot

Yield: 4 servings Prep Time: 10 min Cook Time: 50 min Total Time: 60 min (not including overnight soaking time)


1 Tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil

2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp (7 g) fresh ginger, peeled, minced

1 chili pepper, minced

1 Tbsp (12 g) curry powder

2 tsp (8 g) turmeric powder

1 tsp (4 g) garam masala

1½ cups (300 g) dry chana dal (split chickpeas), soaked overnight

1 vegetable bouillon cube

1½ cups (260 g) dry brown rice, soaked for 2 hours or overnight

1 can (400 mL) coconut milk (reserve some for serving)

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 yellow bell pepper, chopped

1 cup (18 small) cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

Optional toppings

Coconut cream

Cilantro, chopped

Lemon wedges

Chilli flakes


  1. Add oil to a large pot on high heat. When hot, add the onion and cook until lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Add splashes of water as needed to deglaze the pot. Then add the garlic, ginger, and chili pepper and sauté for 2 - 3 minutes more.

  2. Drop the heat to medium, and add the curry powder, turmeric, and garam masala, and sauté for 30 seconds.

  3. When the spices are aromatic, add the drained chana dal, bouillon cube, and 2 cups (500 mL) boiling water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer with the lid partially covered.

  4. Let cook for 30 - 40 minutes until the chana dal is soft and cooked through, stirring every 10 minutes to avoid burning. If the dal is looking dry and is not yet cooked, add a splash of water as needed.

  5. In the meantime, add the soaked and drained rice to a medium pot and cover with 2 cups of water. Partially cover with a lid and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and let simmer until rice is fluffy.

  6. Taste test the dal; when fully cooked, add the coconut milk, and bell peppers, and cook for 10 minutes more with the lid uncovered. Then add the cherry tomatoes and cook for another 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

  7. Serve the dal with rice, and top with coconut cream, chopped cilantro, and slices of lemon.


  1. Storage: keep in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

  2. Variations: add any other vegetables you like, such as zucchini, cauliflower, potato, sweet potato or mushrooms. This is a very versatile recipe!


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❤ Sadia

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