Chana Dal Sundal

Serves 6 to 8.

2 c. chana dal (split hulled chickpeas), chana (whole white chickpeas) or kala chana (black chickpeas), soaked in cold water overnight and drained

• Salt

2 tbsp. coconut oil or vegetable oil

2 or 3 red chiles, fresh or dry, slit lengthwise

• 1/2 tsp. black mustard seeds

• 12 curry leaves

• Pinch of asafetida, optional

3 tbsp. grated coconut, fresh or dried

• Pinch of cayenne

• Cilantro sprigs, for garnish


Simmer chana dal in a soup pot in abundant lightly salted water until soft but not mushy, about 15 minutes. (If using whole chickpeas, cook for 45 minutes.) Drain and spread out on a baking sheet to cool.

In a large wide skillet, heat coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add urad dal, chiles, mustard seeds and curry leaves. Let sizzle for a minute until seeds begin to pop, then add asafetida if using. Turn heat to low and add cooked chana dal and gently stir to coat. Add coconut and continue to stir until spices are well distributed. Check seasoning, adding salt and cayenne as desired.

Transfer to serving bowl and garnish with cilantro sprigs. Serve warm.

Nutrition information per each of 8 servings:

Calories 230 Fat 9 g

Sodium 250 mg Sat. fat 5 g

Carbs 31 g Calcium 55 mg

Protein 10 g Chol 0 mg

Dietary fiber 9 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 2 bread/starch, ½ lean meat, 1 ½ fat.

Khichdi With Massour Dal

Serves 6 to 8.

1 c. massour dal (split red lentils)

• 2 c. basmati rice

• 2 tbsp. ghee

3 small hot green chiles, split lengthwise

• 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds

• 4 cardamom pods

• 1 (2-in.) stick cinnamon

• 6 cloves

• 6 black peppercorns

• 1 small onion, diced fine

• 1/2 tsp. turmeric

• 1 tsp. salt

• 2 c. plain yogurt, optional


Pick over lentils, then combine with rice in a medium mixing bowl. Add cold water and rinse several times, draining with a fine sieve, until water runs clear. Cover with cold water and soak for 1 hour, then drain well.

Heat ghee in a saucepan over medium heat. Add chiles, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and peppercorns. Let sizzle briefly until cumin seeds begin to brown. Add onion, stir to coat and cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes.

Add lentil-rice mixture, turmeric, salt and 4 cups water. Bring to a boil, cover and turn heat to low. Cook for 15 minutes, then let rest, covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff mixture before serving. Accompany with plain yogurt if you wish.

Nutrition information per each of 8 servings:

Calories 280 Fat 4 g

Sodium 300 mg Sat. fat 2 g

Carbs 53 g Calcium 31 mg

Protein 9 g Chol 8 mg

Dietary fiber 5 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 3 ½ bread/starch, 1 fat.

Buttery Moong Dal with Garlic and Cumin

Serves 6 to 8.

1 c. moong dal (split mung beans), soaked 2 hours in cold water, drained and rinsed

• 1/2 tsp. turmeric

• 1 tsp. salt

• 3 tbsp. ghee, clarified butter or vegetable oil

• 1/2 tsp. cumin

• 1 green chile, slit lengthwise

• 4 garlic cloves, minced

• 1 large shallot, diced

• Garam masala or red chile powder, optional

Plain basmati rice, freshly cooked, for serving, optional


Put dal, turmeric and salt in a large soup pot, add 7 cups water and bring to a gentle boil, stirring.

Turn heat very low and cover pot with lid slightly ajar. Check pot and stir frequently, as the dal has a tendency to boil over in the beginning. Skim off and discard any foam that rises. Cook for about 45 minutes, until quite soft. Taste and adjust salt. For a smooth, velvety consistency, purée dal in a blender, then return to pot. If you prefer some texture, just beat with a whisk for a minute or two. (If dal is very thick, thin with a little water.)

Make the tadka: Heat ghee in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add cumin, chile and garlic and cook until cumin is fragrant and garlic is lightly colored, about 1 minute. Add shallot and continue cooking until shallot is softened, about 1 minute more. Pour contents of skillet into pot and stir into the dal.

Transfer to a serving bowl or individual soup bowls. Sprinkle with a pinch of garam masala or red chile powder and/or serve with basmati rice, if desired. Dal may be made in advance, refrigerated and reheated. (It will solidify when chilled and need thinning.) Cool to room temperature before refrigerating. It will keep 2 to 3 days.

Variation: Wilt 10 ounces baby spinach leaves (or chopped larger leaves) in a tablespoon of ghee with a little minced garlic and ginger. Stir spinach into dal just before serving, and add lemon juice to taste.

Nutrition information per each of 8 servings:

Calories 117 Fat 5 g Sodium 300 mg Carbohydrates 14 g Saturated fat 3 g Calcium 24 mg Protein 5 g Cholesterol 12 mg Dietary fiber 5 g Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 bread/starch, 1 fat.