Chana Daal (Split Yellow Gram)

An easy 30-minute recipe for a punchy chana or split yellow gram daal that derives it sharp flavor from a rich spice blend and tamarind sauce.
5 from 2 votes
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Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Soak Time 12 hrs
Total Time 40 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Pakistani Cuisine
Servings 4


  • 1 ½ cup chana dal split yellow gram
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 ½ tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 ½ tsp crushed garlic
  • 2 tbsp tamarind paste home-made or store bought, see notes
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chili powder or to taste
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste
  • ½ yellow onion sliced in half rings
  • ¼ cup oil canola/sunflower/vegetable
  • 4-6 dried red chilies
  • 3- inch ginger julienned
  • 2 tbsp cilantro finely chopped


  • Rinse the chana daal and soak overnight.
  • Place the daal and water in a medium-sized saucepan. Bring the daal to boil.
  • Add crushed ginger and garlic, tamarind paste, ground spices and salt. Lower heat and let the daal simmer uncovered for roughly 20-25 minutes. The daal should soften and the water boil out. Remove from heat.
  • While the water is boiling, fry sliced onion in ¼ cup oil for about 10 – 12 minutes till it’s a deep even brown. Drain on paper towel.
  • When the daal is done, heat 2 tbsp of oil, and fry 4-6 dried red chilies for a few seconds.
  • Place the daal in serving dish, top with caramelized onions, fried chilies and oil (tadka), and freshly cut ginger and cilantro. Serve with roti/chapati or naan.


For this recipe, I used a store-bought tamarind paste. If you want to make it at home, soak a walnut-sized tamarind pulp in warm water. Using your fingers or a spoon, deseed the tamarind pulp and press it to extract the juice out of the tamarind. Strain it and add the tamarind water to the saucepan along with the rest of the ingredients.