Chana dal and ras el hanout

I’ve been trying to stop being lazy about dal and try different bases from my over-used red split lentils. All the books say that you must soak these first, preferably overnight. I just cooked them straight from the packet, I think long cooking times of these sorts of dishes have the best outcomes, so I don’t want to skim on that anyway.


  • 1 cup/half a packet of chana dal, washed and picked over for foreign bits
  • perhaps 2 dessertspoons of ras el hanout, which I discuss here.
  • a couple of onions, fairly finely chopped
  • garlic, chopped
  • ginger, chopped finely
  • some chopped vegetables: I used two zucchinis, two med-large potatoes and two carrots


  • Fry the onion in the ghee until softened, add the garlic and ginger and a minute or so later, the spice mix for another minute. Keep stirring throughout.
  • Add the washed dal and four cups of water. Bring to the boil.
  • Cover and simmer vigorously for an hour or two. Check to make sure you don’t need to add more water, and to see how the softening process is going.
  • Once the dal is fairly soft, add the chopped vegetables, bring to the boil again and then lower to a simmer, covered, until vegetables are cooked to your liking.

You may wish to do as I did, which was to partially mash the dal with a potato masher before adding the vegetables. I don’t really know if that was a good idea.

Best served day two, but we enjoyed it tonight with a hot mango chutney, plain yoghurt and a simple basmati rice dish.

3 thoughts on “Chana dal and ras el hanout

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