Chana Dal Tadka

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Ever since I've hurt my finger, I am getting showered with attention. I am enjoying this quite a bit. Getting hurt doesn't suck so much after all :D

I haven't been doing much in the kitchen lately. Shankar made this lip smacking Dal Tadka for me yesterday & he insisted that I post it. So, here I am typing with just one finger.

I was never such a big fan of Chana Dal. I barely experiment with it. I had Chana Dal Tadka for the first time at an Indian restaurant in Paris.

While we were holidaying in Paris, we were starved beyond words, & were craving for some authentic Indian stuff. For how long can you eat Croissants & Baguettes afterall? When, we found a nice little Indian restaurant & I just couldn't wait to lay my hands on some lovely Rice & Dal Tadka. The restaurant had limited options for the vegetarians & they only served only chana dal. I had no choice but to opt for it & thought I wasn't going to like it one bit.

When the waiter served, Dal Tadka, It looked really bland & had no traces of either onions or tomatoes or any other seasoning.
(I gave him a stare as though I am the Czarina of Indian Cuisine, implying that one can't just whip up something in an alien country & serve it as authentic Indian Stuff. )

But I was sooo terribly wrong. The dal tasted great & had an amazing texture. It was actually more than perfect. Yes, I ate one of the best Dal Tadkas in Paris. And, I knew that I was going to recreate this at home some day.

We got together to guessing what all might have gone into the Dal & I think we got most of it.

Here's how it was made,

You Will Need:

  • 1 1/2 cups Chana Dal
  • 1 red onion - chopped
  • 2 tomatoes - chopped
  • 2 green chillies
  • 2 green cardamoms
  • 2 cloves
  • A small stick of cinnamon
  • A handful of cashewnuts
  • A small piece of ginger
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 dry red chilli - broken
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • cilantro for garnish
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1 tsp desi ghee


  • Soak chana dal in water for about 15 minutes & pressure cook the dal until completely cooked. See to it that the dal does not get mushy & retains its shape
  • Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan & add slit green chillies, cardamoms, cloves & cinnamon. Saute for about 20 seconds.
  • Add chopped onions & saute till they turn transpatent. Add turmeric, red chilli powder & tomatoes & cook until oil separates & tomatoes turn pulpy
  • Switch off the stove & allow it to cool. Once cool, grind this along with ginger & cashewnuts.
  • Heat oil in a pan & add cooked chana dal & the ground paste & bring it to a boil. Add water to get the desired consistency. Add salt as per taste.
  • Temper with cumin seeds & broken red chilli. Garnish with finely chopped cilantro.

Serve Hot with Rotis/Rice. Enjoy !!!

This one was really close to the one we had in Paris & enjoyed it quite a bit. The spices were mild & cashews added their bit of sweetness & gave a nice creamy consistency to the dal. I loved the texture & taste of chana dal too.

All the credit goes to Shankar for patiently listening to me on how to got about the whole thing & creating some lovely comfort food.

Hope you guys are going to try this too.

NOTE: While grinding the ingredients, we let a few rustic pieces of onions & tomatoes remain, since we like biting into tiny bits of veggies. But you could grind it into a smooth paste as well.

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