اَعُوْذُ بِاللهِ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيْمِ
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمن الرَّحِيْمِ

Chana Dal Tadka

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5 from 6 votes
A comforting warm food at the hearts of desis everywhere. Enjoy this lentil recipe with little effort, but with so much protein and flavour. Serve with rice or homemade chapatti for a healthy, hearty, and satisfying meal every time.
Chana Dal

Today, we embark on a journey to explore the delightful world of chana dal tadka, a quintessential Indian dish that is a testament to the rich tapestry of flavours and aromas that Indian cuisine offers. This humble yet hearty lentil curry, elevated by the enchanting tadka, is a symphony of spices, textures, and tantalising aromas.

This lentil curry recipe is a culinary masterpiece that takes your taste buds on a journey through the vibrant streets of India. It’s a dish that tells a story of tradition, warmth, and the magic of spices. So, whether you’re a seasoned explorer of Indian cuisine or a first-time visitor, make sure to indulge in this spicy affair with tadka dal.

The Heart of the Dish

The chana dal is a true treasure in the world of lentils! Allow me to take you on a deeper exploration of this humble ingredient that forms the backbone of our chana dal tadka.

Chana Dal, scientifically known as Cicer arietinum, is the split and hulled variety of the well-loved chickpea. Native to the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent, it has graced the plates of countless families for centuries. Why, you ask? Well, the answer lies in its unique blend of texture, taste, and nutrition.

These golden nuggets are renowned for their nutty, earthy flavor profile. When cooked to perfection, they offer a slightly firm exterior while being tender and creamy on the inside. This delightful contrast in textures makes chana dal a sought-after choice for Indian cuisine.

But it’s not just about taste and texture; chana dal is a nutritional powerhouse as well. It is packed with essential nutrients such as protein, dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. The high protein content in chana dal makes it a popular choice for vegetarians and vegans, providing them with a rich source of plant-based protein.

Now, while chana dal takes the spotlight in my chana dal tadka, it’s worth mentioning that the world of lentils offers a diverse array of options. Different types of lentils can be used to create equally delightful dishes, each with its unique charm:

  • Masoor Dal (Red Lentils): These lentils are a striking crimson hue when whole, but they turn golden when split and hulled. Masoor dal cooks quickly and has a slightly sweet, nutty flavor. It’s often used to prepare soups and stews.
  • Toor Dal (Pigeon Peas): With a mild, nutty flavor, toor dal is known for its ability to absorb the flavours of spices and seasonings. It’s a staple in South Indian cuisine and is commonly used to prepare sambar, a tangy lentil stew.
  • Urad Dal (Black Gram): Urad dal is tiny and black, and it’s used to prepare dishes like dal makhani and idli. It has a subtle, earthy flavour and a creamy texture when cooked.
  • Moong Dal (Mung Beans): Moong dal is bright green and has a slightly sweet and nutty taste. It’s commonly used in dishes like khichdi and dal fry.
  • Arhar Dal (Split Yellow Peas): Sometimes known as toor Dal, arhar dal has a mild, slightly sweet flavour. It’s often used in North Indian cuisine to prepare dal dishes.

While these lentils bring their unique characteristics to the table, chana dal stands out with its robust flavour, creamy texture, and exceptional nutritional value. It’s the heart and soul of my chana dal tadka, creating a harmonious symphony of flavours that’s a true delight for the senses. So, let’s dive back into our culinary adventure and explore how this star ingredient is transformed into a mouthwatering masterpiece.

The Spice Chronicles

Each spice in this symphony has its own unique role, lending its distinct notes to create a harmonious, flavour-packed masterpiece.

Cumin Seeds: Our adventure begins with the humble yet mighty cumin seeds. These tiny, crescent-shaped wonders are the backbone of countless Indian dishes, including my chana dal tadka. As they sizzle in the hot oil, they release their earthy, nutty aroma, setting the stage for what’s to come. Cumin seeds provide a subtle bitterness and an earthy depth that anchors the entire dish.

Chilli Flakes: Enter the chilli flakes, the fiery rebels of the spice world. These crimson warriors bring the heat, adding a tantalising kick that dances on your taste buds. As they mingle with the cumin seeds in the hot oil, they release their capsaicin magic, creating a symphony of sensations that awaken the senses and keep you coming back for more.

Turmeric Powder: A dash of turmeric powder adds not only a vibrant, golden hue but also a warm, earthy flavour to our Chana Dal Tadka. Turmeric is a spice with a rich history, known for its anti-inflammatory properties. It adds depth and warmth, like a cozy blanket on a chilly evening, to the dish.

Chilli Powder: As the chili powder makes its grand entrance, the spice level takes a step up. This fiery powder adds layers of heat and complexity, enhancing the overall flavour profile. It’s not just about spiciness; it’s about depth, intensity, and a journey of flavors that unfolds with each mouthful.

Garam Masala: Last but certainly not least in our ensemble, we have the garam masala. This magical blend of spices, often referred to as the “warming spice,” is a medley of cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, and more. Garam masala adds an aromatic crescendo, infusing the chana dal with a fragrant, almost mystical quality. It’s the secret ingredient that ties all the flavours together, creating a harmonious and memorable experience.

The Tadka Temptation

As we delve deeper into the art of tadka, you’ll discover that it’s not merely a technique but a spellbinding performance that transforms our Chana Dal into a dish fit for royalty.

Imagine a gleaming pan, a stage awaiting its actors. Into this pan, we introduce the butter, our protagonist, and the harbinger of velvety richness. As it gently melts over low heat, a serene hush blankets the kitchen, and the anticipation builds.

Enter minced garlic, the first character in our tadka drama. This aromatic ingredient, finely chopped to reveal its essence, takes centre stage as it sizzles and crackles in the buttery spotlight. The moment it touches the pan, an enchanting aroma unfurls, reminiscent of a fragrant garlic field kissed by the morning sun.

As garlic mingles with the melted butter, it undergoes a magical transformation. Its pungent bite mellows into a caramelised sweetness, adding depth and complexity to the tadka’s flavour profile. The audience – your senses – are entranced by this aromatic overture.

Next, we introduce crushed cumin seeds, another vital character in our culinary play. These tiny seeds, when crushed, release their earthy, smoky essence. As they join the performance, they create a harmony with the buttery garlic, elevating the aroma to an intoxicating level. The gentle sizzle of the seeds is like a soft whisper that draws you closer, inviting you to experience every nuance of this symphony of flavours.

And now, the grand finale of our tadka – fragrant coriander. Freshly chopped, it’s a burst of greenery that adds a pop of color to our dish. As it gracefully descends into the pan, it lends its citrusy, herbal notes to the ensemble, creating a captivating contrast to the earthy cumin and sweet garlic. The sizzling coriander leaves behind a fragrant trail, a sensory invitation to the feast that awaits.

As these three characters – garlic, crushed cumin seeds, and fragrant coriander – come together in the pan, their chemistry is undeniable. Their individual aromas and flavours meld into a tantalising chorus that teases and tantalises your olfactory senses.

As the final curtain falls on our tadka performance, it stands as a testament to the magic of Indian cuisine. It’s not just about ingredients; it’s about the transformation they undergo in the skilled hands of a culinary artist. The tadka is the soul of this dal curry, the crescendo that leaves an indelible mark on your palate.

Serving Suggestions: A Feast for the Senses

Now that our culinary masterpiece, chana dal tadka, has taken its final bow in the kitchen, it’s time to stage the grand presentation and turn a delightful meal into a sensory feast. The art of serving this dish is as crucial as its preparation, and here are some detailed suggestions to make your dining experience truly memorable.

The garnish is like the final brushstroke on a masterpiece. Sprinkle freshly chopped coriander leaves generously over the dal. Their vibrant green hue will not only add a pop of colour but also a refreshing herbal aroma that plays harmoniously with the spicy notes of the dish.

The beauty of Chana Dal Tadka lies in its versatility. To complement its robust flavours, consider serving it with:

  • Basmati Rice: A mound of fragrant, steaming basmati rice provides a neutral canvas for the spicy dal to shine. The long grains of basmati rice act as a gentle counterpart to the bold flavours of the dish.
  • Naan Bread: Alternatively, pair your Chana Dal Tadka with soft, pillowy naan bread. Its mild, slightly chewy texture is an ideal companion for soaking up the delectable gravy.
  • Paratha: If you’re feeling adventurous, try it with flaky, layered parathas. The buttery, crispy layers of paratha create an enticing contrast with the creamy dal.
  • Raita: This provides a refreshing respite for your taste buds while enhancing the overall dining experience. The cool yogurt can also be drizzled over the dal if you prefer a milder flavour profile.

Check Out My Other Recipes!

The treasure trove of vegan delights awaits us, each dish promising its own unique tapestry of tastes and aromas. So, strap on your apron and sharpen those knives, because we’re about to dive into a pool of gastronomic excellence with recipes that will tantalise your taste buds and tickle your fancy!

First up, we have the vibrant and nutritious masoor dal. With its rich, red hue and earthy taste, it’s a dish that radiates comfort and warmth. The creamy consistency of this dal makes it a true crowd-pleaser, and the subtle blend of spices will leave you craving for more. A bowl of this delightful dish is not just a treat for your palate; it’s a warm hug for your soul.

Venturing into the realm of greens, we find the palak chana. This dish combines the goodness of spinach with the protein-packed chickpeas, creating a harmonious blend of health and taste. The vibrant green colour is a testament to the freshness and nutrition within. It’s a green wonder that deserves a place on your dining table.

Ah, the beloved aloo gobi! A comforting embrace of potatoes and cauliflower, drenched in aromatic spices. This classic Indian dish brings together simplicity and complexity in the most harmonious manner. It’s the kind of meal that transports you to the heart of India with every mouthful, making it a timeless favourite among vegans and non-vegans alike.

And now, let’s turn our attention to the humble yet incredibly versatile potato. In the form of this potato curry, potatoes transform into a star attraction. With a medley of spices and a luscious tomato-based gravy, this dish is an ode to the spud lovers of the world. It’s comfort food at its finest, making it an ideal addition to your vegan repertoire.

Now, dear epicureans, as you embark on your culinary adventures with these vegan delights, remember that the kitchen is your canvas, and the ingredients are your paints. Feel free to get creative, tweak the recipes to suit your taste, and make them your own. Cooking is not just a science; it’s an art, and you’re the artist!

Chana Dal

Chana Dal Tadka

A comforting warm food at the hearts of desis everywhere. Serve with rice or homemade chapatti for a healthy, hearty, and satisfying meal every time.
5 from 6 votes
Sadia Halimah Aziz
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 478kcal



  • 600 g Chana Dal
  • 2 L Water
  • 50 ml Oil
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1 tsp Chilli Flakes
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 2 Onions
  • 1 Tomatoes
  • Green Chillies
  • 1 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1 tbsp Chilli Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala


  • 100 g Butter
  • 6 cloves Garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp Cumin Seeds crushed
  • Coriander


  • In a large pan add the chana dal and the water then allow the water to come to a boil
  • Cover and leave to gently simmer for 1 hour until softened
  • In another pan add the vegetable oil, cumin seeds, crushed chillies and bay leaves then sauté for 1-2 minutes
  • Add the finely sliced onions and salt then cook for 3-4 minutes until softened
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes
  • Add the chilli powder, turmeric powder, and garam masala then cook the spices for 4-6 minutes
  • Add the finely chopped green chillies and the tablespoons of water and cook for 2-3 minutes
  • Add the softened dal with the water and cook for a further 5 minutes
  • When the desired consistency is reached turn off the heat
  • In a separate pan add the butter and allow it to melt on low heat
  • Add the minced garlic, crushed cumin seeds and coriander then sauté 2-3 minutes
  • Remove from heat then add tadka to the dal – tadka can also be added upon serving if preferred
  • Your chana dal is ready!



Calories: 478kcal
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The Aziz Kitchen

Salaam and hello everyone!

I’m Sadia, the person behind The Aziz Kitchen. A 20-and-some year-old Muslim aspiring doctor and writer who loves to experiment with cooking, baking and all things food. On this blog you will find my favourite, delicious, family-friendly recipes.

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