Easy and delicious this Instant Pot Chana Dal is made with simple pantry ingredients and is a healthy one pot dish. Split Chickpeas made flavorful and satisfying with Indian spices.
In India, dal is the major dish that is served almost every day. It’s made in various ways with as much variations as possible. Everyone loves tempering it as aromatic and delicious as possible.
However, in the west, time is a big factor plus after the long hectic all we need is a simple comfort food. So, here I made this chana dal in instant pot for simple hot meal on any weekday.
Sometimes, I also add crispy broccoli on the side to make it even more wholesome.
What is chana dal?
It is basically known as split chickpeas in English. In North India it is used in soup or dal form whereas in south Indian its used for tempering chutneys. In Bengal, it is usually made sweet and salty with the addition of coconut in a dal curry form. Overall, it’s a protein rich food with lots of health benefits and is packed with nutrition.
Ingredients for easy instant pot chana dal recipe
Ginger garlic paste
Chana dal/split chickpeas
I have used these basic ingredients which is usually available in our pantry.
Asafetida – it is called Hing in Hindi and helps in flavoring the oil and also is a great digestive.
Ginger garlic paste – its easily available in the store or you can simply crush ginger and garlic together at home with the help of mortar and pestle.
Coconut flakes – fresh or frozen coconut tastes best here but dried unsweetened coconut flakes work great as well. It gives a nice base and adds healthy fats to this recipe along with lots of delicious flavor.
Spices– I have used simple Indian spices here from my kitchen pantry.
Chana dal – its yellow in color and is called split chickpeas. However, if you do not have chickpeas handy then you may use Toor dal in this recipe as well.
For detailed measurement of ingredients, please scroll down to the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.
How to make Instant Pot Chana Dal
Firstly, I turned on my instant pot at sauté mode and heated oil in it. Then, I added the tempering in the hot oil.
Secondly, I sautéed onions in it until translucent.
Next, I tossed in coconut flakes and cooked until golden in color.
Thereafter, I added tomatoes and cooked it until they were mushy.
Afterwards, I mixed in all the spices.
Lastly, I sautéed rinsed chana dal in it followed by water and salt. Then, I stirred it nicely and canceled the sauté mode. Further, I closed the lid and sealed the valve. Finally, I turned it on at high manual for 20 minutes and let it cook.
Once done, I turned it off and released the pressure. Then, I opened the lid and added ¼ cup more water to get the right consistency. Immediately, I mashed it roughly with a food masher and adjusted salt as per the taste.
Later, I garnished it with cilantro and served it with rice and a side salad.
My family devoured it thoroughly. Hence, I make this chana dal recipe quite frequently especially on weeknights when I want something quick.
- It is important to cook coconut flakes until golden for the nice aroma and also for it to release healthy oils.
- Rinse chana dal/split chickpeas in warm water and drain. This helps in removing extra starch.
- Most importantly mash them roughly so that the dal still holds its texture. We do not want it mashed fine. Just mash enough to make a thick curry consistency.
This taste best when served immediately. However, refrigerate the leftovers in an air tight container for about 1 week. Warm it very nicely on the stove top. Chana dal might absorb liquid so feel free to add more water while reheating and adjust the salt.
Even though chana dal and yellow split peas look very similar but they are very different in taste. Chana dal or split chickpeas will hold its shape and texture even after cooking whereas yellow split peas will become mushy easily after cooking.
You may make it in Indian pressure cooker by following the same steps as explained. Just give it 3-4 whistles and release its pressure naturally. If cooking in a saucepan, then I would recommend soaking chana dal for 30 minutes before cooking. Then, follow the steps and cook covered at medium-high flame until soft and tender.
My other dal/lentil recipes that you might like:
Red Lentil Dal
Lentil Shepherd’s Pie
Masala Lentil Curry
Lentil Cilantro Soup
Vegan Lentil Cheese Sandwich
Vegan Lentil Cheese Soup
Lentil Sweet Potato Salad
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I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did. I am very excited to hear back from you.
Did you make it?
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In addition, you may checkout my cookbook for everyday comfort vegan recipes.
Instant Pot Chana Dal
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp asafetida/Hing
- 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes fresh/frozen/dried)
- 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/4 tsp garam masala
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
- 1 cup rinsed Chana dal
- 3 cups water
- salt to taste
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (to garnish)
- Turn on your instant pot at sauté mode and heat oil in it. Then add, cumin seeds, asafetida, ginger garlic pasta to it. Mix them in the hot oil.
- Sauté onions in it and immediately toss in coconut flakes. Sauté until golden in color.
- Add tomatoes and sauté until tomatoes are mushy.
- Add turmeric powder, chili powder, cinnamon powder, garam masala and mix well.
- Add rinsed Chana dal and sauté for 30 seconds. Add water and salt to it and stir well.
- Cancel the sauté mode and close the lid, seal the valve. Turn it on at high manual for 20 minutes. Once done, release the pressure and open the lid. Roughly mash cooked dal with a food masher. (Do not mash it fine, chana dal should hold its shape). If you feel its slightly thick in consistency, the add ¼ cup of warm water to it and let it rest covered for 1 minute.
- Remove the lid, stir and garnish with cilantro and serve it with rice.
- Indian pressure cooker – you may make this in the Indian pressure cooker by following the same steps. Give it 3-4 whistle and let it release its steam naturally. Follow the rest of the steps as explained above.
- Saucepan – rinse and soak Chana dal in 2 cups water for 30 minutes before cooking. Follow the steps as explained until step 4. Then, add soaked Chana dal along with its water. Add 1 cup more water followed by salt. Stir and let it cook covered at medium-high flame. Make sure it does not overflow so you may want to keep a tiny gap for the steam to escape. Cook until dal is soft and tender. Adjust the water and salt as per your desired consistency and taste. Roughly mash the cooked dal to get a thick consistency and garnish.
- This recipe tastes best when served immediately but you may refrigerate the leftovers in an air tight container for about 1 week. Warm it up nicely on the stove top. Dal may absorb the liquid so feel free to add water and adjust the salt.
- Chana dal is spilt chickpeas and different from yellow split peas.