Split Yellow Gram (Chana Dal) Recipe

Being a vegan for quite some time now, and a vegetarian for a lot of years before, I have come to know and enjoy Indian cuisine quite a bit. That make sense, since some 30% of Indians follow a vegetarian diet. They are experts at making dhal - a thick soup made from legumes, beans and a variety of spices, usually served with rice or bread. Here is my recipe for split yellow dhal.


Serves: 6
Time: 1 hour + soaking time

Split Yellow Gram (Chana Dal) Recipe


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 4 garlic cloves, finely grated

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander

  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

  • 1 and 1/2 cups dried split yellow gram, rinsed and soaked at least 30 minutes

  • 3 cups water

  • 1 small can chopped tomatoes

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • juice of 1/2 lemon

For serving:

  • rice with chopped fresh coriander and chopped spring onions


  1. Soak the split yellow gram for at least 30 minutes (or better yet, overnight). Boil 2 cups water and add the split yellow gram with the cinnamon stick and some salt. Boil for 20 minutes, then rinse. Put the cinnamon stick aside, you’ll need it later. In the meantime chop all vegetables and prepare spices.

  2. In a medium-large sauce pan add oil and over medium heat cook your onions for about 5 minutes. Add your garlic and all spices (cinnamon stick, bay leaves, coriander, cumin, turmeric, ginger, salt and pepper) and stir for about a minute.

  3. Add your chopped tomatoes, 3 cups water and split yellow gram and wait for it to boil. When it boils, simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. The yellow gram should be very tender, and if it’s not then cook for a longer period of time.

  4. Finally, add the juice of 1/2 lemon and serve your dal over rice.

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