Simmered lentils

Chana dal


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Floyd's India

Floyd's India

By Keith Floyd

Published 2001

  • About

You can use black, yellow, green, whatever lentils you like, but the important thing is you must first wash them well and leave them to soak in fresh water for an hour.


  • 200 g/7 oz dry lentils
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • salt
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 heaped teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 red onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon mixed ginger and garlic purée
  • 1 tablespoon red chilli powder
  • 3 tomatoes, finely chopped

For the Garnish

  • chopped fresh coriander leaves
  • 4 fresh green chillies


  1. Cook the lentils with the turmeric and some salt in just enough water to cover until they are tender but not completely cooked and the water has evaporated.
  2. Heat the oil in a karai or a saucepan, add the cumin seeds and fry until they crackle. Add the onions and sauté until golden brown.
  3. Stir in the ginger and garlic purée and the chilli powder. Stir-fry for 2 or 3 minutes, then add the tomatoes and cook for 15-20 minutes or until you have a coarse purée.
  4. Add the parcooked lentils and simmer gently until they are really tender. Serve garnished with chopped coriander leaves and a fresh green chilli per person.