Instant Pot Chana Dal is a flavorful dish made with split chickpeas. This creamy dal is naturally gluten-free and vegan. The combination of chana dal and fragrant spices creates a delightful lentil curry that can be enjoyed with basmati rice, flatbreads like gobi paratha, or as a standalone meal.
Split chickpeas are used to make lentil curry in North India, whereas they are used in seasoning, Indian chutneys, and desserts in South India. This recipe of chana dal is basically a North Indian-style dal made using split chickpeas.
Growing up in a South Indian household, it was always toor dal (split pigeon pea) that was a staple for us, and chana dal was used in tempering or making spice blends and sweet dishes. I started making this lentil curry much later, and we love and enjoy it with rice.
Why you will love this recipe?
- Delicious: The combination of split chickpeas, aromatic spices, and a creamy texture creates a delicious and satisfying dish.
- Vegan and gluten-free: If you are following a vegan or gluten-free diet,
Instant PotChana Dal is an excellent choice.
The second tempering
The highlight of my recipe is the second tempering I am making after the dal is cooked. This additional step takes the flavors of the chana dal to the next level and adds an aromatic touch.
Chana dal: Also called split chickpea or Bengal gram dal, this is the main ingredient.
Tomatoes: Fresh tomatoes work well; however, you can replace them with canned tomatoes too.
Spices: I use cumin seeds, hing (asafoetida), ground coriander, turmeric, chili powder, and garam masala.
See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
Step 1: Wash the chana dal thoroughly. Soak it in clean water for 20 minutes. Drain all the water from it and rinse the soaked dal (image 1).
Step 2: Set the
Step 3: Add the tomato, coriander powder, chili powder, turmeric powder, salt, and sugar. Saute for 2 minutes (images 3 and 4).
Step 4: Add the soaked dal and 3 cups of water. Give it a good stir (images 5 and 6).
Step 5: Cancel the saute mode and set the
Step 6: Open the lid and add garam masala powder, cilantro leaves, and lemon/lime juice. Mix well. The dal can be served at this stage, or you can make an extra tempering before serving (images 9 and 10).
Optional second tempering
Step 7: Heat one teaspoon of oil in a small pan to make the second tempering. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, dried red chili, curry leaves, and chili powder. Mix well and saute for a few seconds (images 11 and 12).
A quick soak of 15-20 minutes is sufficient when making this dal in an
This dal often tastes even better when it sits for a while, allowing the flavors to meld. You can make it in advance or make a larger batch and reheat it later.
What to serve with
Instant Pot chana dal?
Roti or naan: Chana dal goes wonderfully with Indian bread like roti or naan.
Chana dal is a type of lentil that is split and hulled and is also known as split Bengal gram lentils, split chickpeas, or yellow gram. They are made from brown chickpeas or black chickpeas (and not garbanzo beans), which is also called kala chana or desi chana. Chana dal is milled to make besan (chickpea flour).
No, split chickpeas and yellow lentils (or split mung beans) are not the same. They are distinct legumes derived from different plants, each with unique flavors and textures. Split chickpeas, also known as chana dal or Bengal gram lentil, originate from hulled and split kala chana (black chickpeas). They have a nutty flavor and yellow color and are frequently used in Indian dishes. Yellow lentils, or moong dal, are produced from split mung beans with a mild flavor and small, round shape. They are widely used in Indian, Southeast Asian, and Middle Eastern cuisines for soups, stews, and curries.
Make the onion-tomato masala base in a
This is the traditional method of cooking chana dal. Rinse the dal and soak it for at least 4-5 hours (overnight is best). Make the initial onion-tomato masala in a
Make the onion-tomato masala base in the stovetop pressure cooker. Add the soaked and rinsed dal to the pressure cooker along with water. Use a 1:3 dal-to-water ratio. Close the lid and let the pressure build. Once it reaches pressure, reduce the heat and cook for 2 whistles. Release the pressure naturally after pressure cooking, then follow the remaining recipe.
More dal recipes
If you tried this Instant Pot Chana Dal Recipe or any other recipe on my website, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it went in the 📝 comments below.
Instant Pot Chana Dal
- Wash the chana dal thoroughly. Soak it in clean water for 20 minutes. Drain all the water from it and rinse the soaked dal in fresh water.
- Set the Instant Pot in saute mode and add oil. Once it heats, add the cumin seeds and hing.
- Once the cumin seeds begin to splutter, add onion, ginger, garlic, and green chili. Saute for 3-4 minutes, until the onions being to soften.
- Add the tomato, coriander powder, chili powder, turmeric powder, salt, and sugar. Saute for 2 minutes.
- Add the soaked dal and 3 cups of water. Give it a good stir.
- Cancel saute mode and set the Instant Pot on pressure cook for 12 minutes. Do 10 minutes of NPR, then do a quick release remaining pressure.
- Open the lid and add garam masala, cilantro, and lemon/lime juice. Mix well.
- The dal can be served at this stage or you can make an extra tempering before serving.
- To make the second tempering, heat one teaspoon of oil in a small pan. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, dried red chili, curry leaves, and chili powder. Mix well and saute for a few seconds.
- Pour on the dal and serve hot.