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Chana Dal with Potatoes

Serve this thick dal with fancy rice, a simple vegetable, and bread.

YIELD: enough for 4 persons

1 cup (250 ml) chana dal
11/2 cups (375 ml) water
one 2.5 cm (1-inch) cinnamon stick
4 tablespoons (80 ml) ghee or oil
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1.25 cm (1/2-inch) cubes
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoons (1 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) turmeric
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
1 teaspoon (5 ml) fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons (40 ml) coarsely chopped fresh coriander

1. Wash and drain the dal and place it in a bowl covered with hot water. Soak for 5 hours. Drain.

2. Boil the dal, water, cinnamon stick, and 1 tablespoon (20 ml) of ghee or oil over moderately high heat in a heavy 3-litre/quart saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Reduce the heat to moderately low. Stir once and boil for 15 minutes.

3. Add the diced potatoes, stir once, replace the lid, and continue cooking until the dal is tender and plump and the potatoes are soft and tender.

4. Remove the dal from the heat and remove the cinnamon stick.

5. Pour the remaining ghee or oil into a large frying pan over moderate to moderately high heat. Saute the cumin seeds in the hot oil until they turn brown. Add the asafoetida, ground coriander, cayenne, turmeric, and salt. Stir once; then add the dal and potatoes and stir well. Do not mash the dal. Add the lemon juice and fresh coriander. Mix well and remove from the heat, adding a little hot water if required. Serve hot.