Updated: Dec 29, 2020
If you've enjoyed lunch or dinner at an Indian restaurant, there's a chance you've had chana dal.
What is Chana Dal?
Chana Dal is a brown chickpea that has been split, skinned and polished. The chickpeas can be used in soups, salads, curry and rice dishes. They're also super nutritious with approximately 19 grams of protein, 17 grams of fiber, 35 percent iron, 25 percent magnesium and B6* in just 1/2 cup dried chickpeas.
*based on 2,000 calorie diet
Why you should make this dish:
It's super simple to make.
It's perfectly balanced in nutrition with protein, carbohydrate, and fat, leaving you sustainably satiated.
It's packed with fiber.
It gets even better the next day for leftovers.
It's loaded with iron (chickpeas), vitamin C (cauliflower), calcium (kale), and much much more.
It has lots of immune-supporting ingredients like garlic, onion, and ginger.
It's delicious all year round.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 60 minutes
1 cup dry chana dal (split chickpeas)*
1-2 Tbsp avocado oil or veggie stock for oil-free
1 cup chopped yellow onion
2 Tbsp fresh minced ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 Tbsp red curry paste (I used Thai Kitchen for this recipe)
2 cups roughly chopped cauliflower
1-2 dried Thai chili peppers (optional)
1 13.5-oz can light coconut milk
1 cup vegetable broth
2 Tbsp organic tamari
1 Tbsp maple syrup or coconut sugar
2 cups chopped kale (or other leafy green of choice)
1-2 Tbsp fresh lime juice (optional)
salt and pepper to taste (optional)
*You could also use canned or pre-cooked whole chickpeas, drained and rinsed. If you choose to use cooked chickpeas then omit the 1 cup of vegetable broth above.
*You could also substitute lentils for chickpeas.
More optional yumminess to add to the curry
Brown rice or quinoa
How to Make
Add chana dal to a medium bowl and cover with water. Allow to soak for 4-6 hours or overnight. Then rinse, drain, and set aside. (Alternatively, you could soak them in hot water for one hour.)
Heat a large rimmed skillet or pot over medium heat. Once hot, add oil or vegetable broth and onion. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent.
Stir in the garlic and ginger, cook for 60 seconds.
Add the curry paste, mix with the aromatics and cook for 1-2 minutes more.
Add the cauliflower, Thai chili peppers (if using) and sauté a few more minutes. (Add 2-4 tablespoons of more vegetable broth or water if needed to prevent sticking.)
Add coconut milk, vegetable broth, tamari, maple syrup, and chana dal. Stir to combine. Bring to a simmer.
Cook uncovered for approximately 30-40 minutes or until chana dal is tender.
In the last 5 minutes of cooking, add your kale (or leafy green of choice like spinach or mustard greens). Stir until wilted (about 1-2 minutes).
Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding lime juice for acidity, maple syrup for sweetness, tamari or salt for saltiness, or red curry paste for more intense curry flavor.
Serve by itself or over whole grains like brown rice or quinoa. Garnish with cilantro, green onion, and cashews, if desired.